Kathy's Reviews > Gift from the Sea

Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
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's review
Aug 26, 10

bookshelves: book-club, books-i-want-to-own, inspirational, personal-growth
Read from August 19 to 22, 2010

I really loved reading this book, which was a collection of thoughts and insights about life and womanhood, touching on subjects like balance, simplicity, creativity, and relationships. It centered on a vacation the author took by herself to an island beach cottage. She uses symbolism from shells, islands, waves, and so on to illustrate her observations. I related to many of her thoughts and feelings, although she obviously lived a very different life than me. The author, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, was the wife of aviator Charles Lindbergh and seems to have lived basically a life of the rich and famous, what sounds like an adventurous and exciting life, traveling all over the world and learning to fly herself. I got none of this from the book, though. She comes across as very down to earth.

Some of the things she wrote were things that I have thought and felt myself, but I wouldn’t have worded them so well or poetically. It is always nice to see feelings I recognize explained by someone else like that. For example, when she describes at the beginning her feeling of coming back to the beach she says,

At first, the tired body takes over completely. As on shipboard, one descends into a deck-chair apathy. One is forced against one’s mind, against all tidy resolutions, back into the primeval rhythms of the sea-shore. Rollers on the beach, wind in the pines, the slow flapping of herons across sand dunes, drown out the hectic rhythms of city and suburb, time tables and schedules. One falls under their spell, relaxes, stretches out prone. One becomes, in fact, like the element on which one lies, flattened by the sea; bare, open, empty as the beach, erased by today’s tides of all yesterday’s scribblings.


I knew exactly the feeling she was describing. Then there were other parts where she presented ideas or ways of looking at things that I had never thought about before.

The “veritable life” of our emotions and our relationships also is intermittent. When you love someone you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity—in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern. . . One must accept the security of the winged life, of ebb and flow, of intermittency.


I really liked that idea of the ebb and flow of life and relationships, the ups and downs, and having faith that the tide will come back in, that things don’t always stay the same, and not to fear the ebb of the tide because that is when you can find the treasures that the sea has been hiding, the beautiful shells and other mysteries of the sea.

This book definitely gave me a lot to think about and this was a good time of year to read it as I gear up for life getting busier with kids going back to school and activities picking up. I need to try to remember to prioritize and keep things in balance.
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Reading Progress

08/19/2010 page 30
21.0% "I already have wanted to underline almost everything I have read so far. So relating to this right now."

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