• David Carlson

828: Biarritz where each cycle of the tide is valid; each cycle of the wave is valid;

Day 828: Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Biarritz where each cycle of the tide is valid; each cycle of the wave is valid; each step of the journey is valid.


Jacqueline writes from Biarritz, home of French Basque culture and surfing. Why surfing? In 1957, the American film director Peter Viertel was in Biarritz with his British actress wife Deborah Kerr working on the film The Sun Also Rises. One of his Californian friends came for a visit, and his use of a surfboard off Biarritz is recognized as the first time surfing was practiced in Europe. Biarritz eventually became one of the most popular European surfing spots.


(Sadly, a surfer lost his life. His surfboard, dedicated to him, resides in the local church as an homage to surfers everywhere)
The climate encourages hydrangeas -- they're everywhere!


Within the Wave

Within the hollow wave there lies a world,

gleaming glass-perfect, rising to be hurled

into a thousand fragments on the sand,

driven by tide’s inexorable hand.


\Now in the instant while disaster towers,

I glimpse the land more beautiful than ours,

another sky, more lapis-lazuli,

lit by unsetting suns, another sea

by no horizon bound, another shore,

glistening with shells I never saw before.

(Biarritz at night)


Smooth mirror of the present, poised between

the crest’s “becoming” and the foam’s “has-been” –

how luminous the landscape seen across

the crystal lens of an impending loss!


(David and Jacqueline's hotel in Biarritz)





The most important thing - a reflection by Anne Morrow Lindbergh


How can one learn to live through the ebb-tides of one’s existence? How can one learn to take the trough of the wave? It is easier to understand here on the beach, where the breathlessly still ebb-tides reveal another life below the level which mortals usually reach.


In this crystalline moment of suspense, one has a sudden revelation of the secret kingdom at the bottom of the sea. Here in the shallow flats one finds, wading through warm ripples, great horse-conchs pivoting on a leg; white sand dollars, marble medallions engraved in the mud; and log myriads of bright- colored cochina-clams, glistening in the foam, their shells opening and shutting like butterflies’ wings.


So beautiful is the still hour of the sea’s withdrawal, as beautiful as the sea’s return when the encroaching waves pound up the beach, pressing to reach those dark rumpled chains of seaweed which mark the last high tide.


Perhaps this is the most important thing for me to take back from beach-living: simply the memory that each cycle of the tide is valid; each cycle of the wave is valid; each cycle of a relationship is valid. And my shells? I can sweep them all into my pocket. They are only there to remind me that the sea recedes and returns eternally.




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