Beachcombing at Miramar: The Quest for an Authentic Life

I have fallen in love with reading again. I devoured three memoirs in three weeks. Damn good memoirs. ( I will discuss the others in a future blog post.)

Last night I started reading my fourth: Beachcombing at Miramar: The Quest for An Authentic Life by Richard Bode. I read 38 pages aloud to my husband. We would have read until the wee hours of the morning, but it was a weeknight.

Bode is a superb writer, and a kindred spirit. He is a beachcomber (and writer) who is as in touch with the complexities of his  inner world, as he is the ocean landscape that he inhabits. He savours solitude (like me), and possesses a keen sense of wonder for the small, and beautiful mysteries in nature. (He dwells at length on a sand dollar he finds at the beach – observing the fine details on its surface, comparing it to a “lithotint of a master artist, a symphony on stone.”) And that alone would be enough to hook me. But it’s his observations of his fellow humans that really captivate me.

Divorced after a thirty year marriage, Bode searches for love, and is deeply analytical of the relationships he encounters between men and women. He speaks of being “alone”, not lonely like “the mismatched husbands and wives” he sees everywhere.

He walks the beach to find himself (and maybe her?) It is at the beach that he finds authenticity.

He writes:

How is it, I ask myself, that I have so little money, yet I live so well?

I know the answer even before the question has filtered through my brain. It lies, in part, in what I have shed, the material encumbrances of life that once weighed me down, and, in part, in the useful objects I discover – the bric a brac, the artifacts, the relics, the castaway bits and pieces of civilization – as I comb the sand.

I have deep admiration for those who, like Bode,  abandon materialism and take on this human adventure  in a much more naked state.  I believe that the more “stuff”  we have, the bigger the chasm between our ego-driven existence and true enlightenment. I have far to go.

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