I heard the surf shift the other afternoon. I was sitting on the balcony overlooking the beach. I was meditating, practicing some mindfulness, with the surf as the background mantra. The surf had been loud and heavy for the past 24 hours. Even now it was loud, still a roar, the water constantly flowing like a perpetual motion machine. The wind had been a little calmer most of the afternoon. I was thinking how complete silence is not necessary for meditation when the power of moving water is behind us.
Suddenly I became aware that it was quieter; the breakers weren’t sounding as loud or as constant; the roar was more distant, a murmur. My first thought was that I had just gotten used to the sound and I’m focusing elsewhere, though still mindful. Or maybe I was heading into the near sleep neverland.
My wife sneezed and it was at it’s normal sound level. I pondered for a brief second and I realized what was happening. I had just heard the surf calm down. I had heard a transition from one state to another. I had heard the color of the sound of the surf change.
I opened my eyes and looked out at the water. The waves had gotten smaller, the breakers hardly making any noise. It had happened within minutes. As I wrote my thoughts down ten or so minutes later the sound continued to decrease. I checked the beach warning flag and it remained calm. I thought maybe I heard a wind shift but that isn’t what occurred. Or was it?
Over the past few weeks I have been paying a little more attention to the water, wind and weather. I have been seeing how winds from one direction can turn the Gulf into a sheet of glass as it pushes the waves back out to deeper water. Or, like the previous 48 hours, a strong south to southeast wind picks up water and moves it for miles, if not hundreds of miles before crashing ashore. It opened me up to being more aware when today I could hear the changes.
That kind of mindfulness is important to life, I realize. It can mean being aware of a friend’s feelings, the emotion in a situation, the right time to keep quiet. It can help us know when and where we may be getting a direction from a Higher Power. Jazz musicians train to hear chord and key changes so they can be better improvisers.
On the balcony the other day I experienced the wonder of being aware- mindful- of changes. By the time I went inside, it was still calm. There is a slight breeze and it is still from the south. A front will be moving in overnight and that no doubt played into the change I heard. The waves remained but were not as commanding as they had been with the flag barely moving and the palms just rustling silently.
An amazing world we live in.