Sitting Meditation by the Sea
copyright (c) Susan Helene Kramer
To begin, it is a Saturday morning and the twins are climbing onto their bikes, to start heading out along the 2 mile herringbone patterned brick bike trail rolling through the dunes leading to the North Sea on the western coast of Holland.
Along the path to their right and left they pass woodlands of oak and open grasslands, interspersed with lower pond areas surrounded by grasses, reeds and cattails. Many birds and ducks make these dune parklands their home year round or temporarily while migrating.
Anneke spots a new family of colorful male mallards with their tan and brown mates, and Hans spies a group of coots with the white foreheads and black bodies of both sexes.
Then the twins see a cormorant flying across in front of them about 20 feet high over the meadow, carrying a long thin branch back to his nest site in the middle of a large pond.
Hans and Anneke do not pause long on the ride today, as they are anxious to reach the open stretch of yellow sandy beach rising gently from the sea in their quest to collect small shells for craft projects.
Nearing their destination they race each other for the final stretch down the slope of the last tall grassy dune, coming to a quick halt as the brick trail breaks off abruptly into soft sand.
Their eyes momentarily adjust to the far horizon of sea, barely discernible from the gray-blue sky above. Eighty miles directly to their west is England.
And, looking in a north-westerly direction, hundreds of miles away just south of the arctic circle is Iceland, the direction from which many winter storms assault Holland after first whipping their winds against the shores of northern and eastern Scotland.
Out of breath, Hans and Anneke lock up their bikes on convenient rail fences at the end of the bike path, and go sit for a few minutes at the foot of a dune facing the sea.
Since they are quiet and unmoving, a seagull comes quite near them at the water's edge. Two foot waves wash in and flow back by gravity and still their seagull friend, 'Sammy Seagull' as they call him, stands rooted on the wash of beach.
The twins take this time to sit up straight pretending to be seagulls, and as the waves wash in and out in a regular pattern, their breath quite naturally takes up a regular even pattern of its own.
After a minute, Anneke and Hans feel rested and run down to water's edge in pursuit of their new seagull friend, but only fast enough to catch a glimpse of his white belly as he swoops out over the edge of sea.
They turn their attention back to collecting the shells they had come for, gathering several handfuls they consider special. Walking back to their bikes, shells stored in backpacks, brother and sister wend their way home.
But, the events of the day with Sammy Seagull at the sea were not forgotten. To this day, when they need a break, the twins spend a few minutes sitting still while breathing in and out in an even pattern, like the waves that repeatedly wash in, and flow back out to the sea. More Stories