by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
This quiet, introspective little book surprised me with its candor and depth. I really didn't know what to expect when I picked it up. All I knew about Anne Morrow Lindbergh is that she was the wife of famed Charles Lindbergh who made the first solo flight across the Atlantic ocean. In art school I once did a painting of Lindbergh and thus read quite a few books about him.
Gift from the Sea reflects a period of time Anne spent alone at the seaside; a quiet vacation she used to reflect on her life and reconnect with her inner self. She walks the beaches collecting shells and contemplating their beautiful shapes, finding metaphors in the seashells for her musings on the need for simplicity in life, the renewal of solitude, and most of all how relationships change and grow over time. I read it in one sitting but found myself pausing frequently over the words. Even though her perspective on women's roles is a bit outdated, I still found it relevant and appreciated what she had to say about women as mothers, the nurturing core of the family who must always be giving, reaching outside of herself, but also needs to find time to be alone and regenerate. It's a peaceful, thoughtful kind of book that I feel almost anyone could find a treasure in. In a way its reflective tone and friendliness reminded me of Gladys Taber's Conversations with Amber.
A few short passages that stood out to me:
The most exhausting thing in life, I have discovered, is being insincere. That is why so much of social life is exhausting; one is wearing a mask.
I find there is a quality to being alone that is incredibly precious. Life rushes back into the void, richer, more vivid, fuller than before. It is as if in parting one did actually loose an arm. And then, like the star-fish, one grows it anew; one is whole again, complete and round- more whole, even than before, when the other people had pieces of one.
When one is a stranger to oneself then one is estranged from others too. If one is out of touch with oneself, then one cannot touch others.... Only when one is connected to one's own core is one connected to others, I am beginning to discover. And for me, the core, the inner spring, can best be refound through solitude.
I'm curious now about Anne Morrow Lindbergh's other writings. I'm not too keen on poetry, but has anyone read her diaries or other works? Let me know what you thought of them, what I should try next.
My copy of Gift from the Sea is quite worn with tattered edges on the dust jacket as you can see here; so I'm counting it towards my Dogeared Challenge.
........ 127 pages, 1955
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