Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Landscape of a Long Marriage

 The sea is the landscape of my marriage. I live at the end of a dirt road on the southern coast of Maine, the horizon my closest eastern neighbor. Storms blow in from every direction. Light is ever changing, dark to light, dull to luminous.  One night in July a double rainbow arched outside my dining room window. I stepped out onto the deck, the scent of rain mingling with the salty scent of the sea. In both directions colors fell into the dark of the ocean. Beyond the deck, the sea stretched, rippling, rolling, breaking white around rocks.
Every day, I watch the incoming tide fill spaces between boulders, leaving tide pools rich with life, snails, crabs, the occasional starfish. This constant push and pull of the moon on the sea carves out caves and thunder holes where the sea rushes in, foaming and spraying. The sea builds bridges that I cross climbing out to a promontory. In a hurricane the promontory disappears.
            I was twenty-one when I met my husband, drawn to his strength and his power. After more than fifty years of marriage, his strength has waned. Mine has waxed. Our differences are more pronounced. He disengages. I engage. What has kept us together is transformation, my fire redirected, his strength and power redefined. We are wiser, committed, now, to the history we have created with each other, with our children and our grandchildren. So many narratives of a long marriage. I have one, Dick another. Each of my three sons will have his own. But there is another narrative, the story the marriage itself whispers in my ear, as mysterious as the white space on a writer’s page—that abstract yet transcendent place where Dick and I come together. 


  1. Oh Sandell - what a beautiful description, a marriage like the ocean that ebbs and flows, has tidal pools and tangents. Happy anniversary. I am so happy to know you.

    1. And I'm happy to know you, too. And LIfe in the Garden-- another wonderful metaphor to play with.

  2. "Sandy" I remember you so well from Millburn Hs class of 56..what a great life you have had!
    My 'honey ' & I celebrated our 52nd Anniverdary in January..we also have 3 'kids'--2 boys..1 girl & 6 GRANDkids......your story intrigued me..would like to read more of it..tell me how!
    Have made a few trips over the years to my 'home' on Locust Ave..that BIG house I grew up in has gotten so much smaller!
    Have not attended a HSreunion since our 25th...the people who organize it are always the same & they were not people I liked way back then--Admire your writings..did you have Miss Underhill back in 7th grade---made us write 'seing things..touching things.etc..etc..amazing teacher!

    1. Since you're commenting anonymously, I have no idea who you are, but I sure am curious. Yes, I had Miss Underhill, and unlike you, my memory of seeing things and touching things is gone. So nice to have your memory of her. I did like her. And I remember thinking she was a good teacher. We had some amazing teachers. That piece is what it is-- short for a blog post. Check out my website for more info.


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