“It feels like years since it’s been here,” sang George Harrison in the Beatles’ soul-soothing song “Here Comes the Sun.” Yes, “It’s been a long, cold, lonely winter” but “smiles [are] returning to the faces.” The 60-degree weather and returning greenery and blossoms are visible in every direction I turn, and I caught myself smiling ear to ear when my iPhone camera turned its lens on me instead of the cherry blossom tree I was aiming to capture during a recent walk.
I feel blissed and blessed to live here on the East End with year-round beauty that multiplies in spring with additional opportunity to feel the ocean mist, smell the fragrances, and hear the whispers and songs nature sings.
On May 1, I celebrated May Day, or Beltane, which is a national holiday in Sweden that marks the quarter point between the spring equinox and summer solstice. As with many holidays honored by Paganism, an often misunderstood earth-based religion, the day celebrates all that this season represents. It honors sexuality and the fruits born of that as well as from the earth in the form of crops and flowers, which traditionally adorn the heads of women during a ritual which usually includes a bonfire.
With no centralized religious body, Pagans believe we are born sin-free with all of the tools necessary to live ethically and spiritually, with time in nature of utmost importance and something to be eternally grateful for.
I believe that nature is the cure for much of what ails us. Time spent there is health care, the opposite of modern medical or dis-ease care, a necessity for us to come into balance, breathe, relax, and listen.
I experienced this firsthand while on vacation last week. With no deadlines and very few things on the to-do list, I scheduled a few conventional modern medical appointments, which took hours in nature to undo. I did achieve balance finally after hula hooping therapy at sunset on Indian Wells Beach and frequent follow-up visits to Crescent Beach on Shelter Island.
My theory was evidenced clearly in a newly gifted mood ring that turned black while in the doctor’s office, while the day before it stayed in purples and pinks during a walk on Havens Beach in Sag Harbor. Perhaps we all need to wear mood rings to realize what is working for us and what is not.
I learned that a staycation was what I needed more than I realized. There was a little bit of spring cleaning, but mostly that of mind clutter, released to the universe except for the entertaining memories that were channeled into the only book I picked up during the week, the one I am writing.
The creative expression took place all week long in various outdoor spaces. My needs were simple, a beach and a picnic table. I chose my spot each day after a drive or walk from beach to beach in search of the most comfortable wind direction. I loved the exploration. After all of these years, I’m still in awe of the bright blues contrasting with light sand beaches. Some days it was a bay beach with glowing emerald green moss-covered rocks that did the trick.
I don’t think enough people out here take advantage of all that our surroundings have to offer our minds, bodies, and souls. In fact, I know they don’t. I am often one of the few out there.
Soon the summer residents and seasonal visitors will return and many will complain about crowds, traffic, and lack of parking spaces, yet right now, beaches are empty and divinely breathtaking and there is hardly a soul taking advantage of nature’s gift to us.
I believe East Enders should be especially filled with gratitude this year that our pristine beaches still exist at all after our close call with Hurricane Sandy.
Yes, we have busy lives, but a quick break before, during, or after work will do us all a world of good. Whether it’s for exercise or a nap, breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or simply to feel the sand on your feet, I hope more people make the time to enjoy the gifts and the sunsets.
Instead of “here comes the summer traffic,” think “here comes the sun and it’s all right.”
Carrie Ann Salvi is a reporter at The Star.