In this inimitable, beloved classic Anne Morrow Lindbergh shares her meditations on youth and age; love and marriage; peace, solitude and contentment as she set them down during a brief vacation by the sea. Drawing inspiration from the shells on the shore, Lindbergh’s musings on the shape of a woman’s life bring new understanding to both men and women at any stage of life. She casts an unsentimental eye on the trappings of modernity that threaten to overwhelm us: the time-saving gadgets that complicate rather than simplify, the multiple commitments that take us from our families. And by recording her thoughts during a brief escape from everyday demands, she helps readers find a space for contemplation and creativity within their own lives.
I picked up this book in high school because, as someone who grew up nowhere near an ocean, I loved the ocean. It was probably a cover buy because, oooo, the sea! I didn’t connect with it at 17, though, so I put it aside.
Other people may enjoy it at any age, but it’s definitely a mid-life book for me. Lindbergh’s writing is timeless in style, and while written in 1955 much connects to our modern, digital lives today. She talks about how women are expected to give of themselves – to their husbands, the upkeep of their households, the rearing of kids, caring for whomever needs to be taken care of.
I believe that what woman resents is not so much giving herself in pieces as giving herself purposefully. What we fear is not so much that our energy may be leaking away through small outlets as that it may be going “down the drain”. We do not see the results of our giving as concretely as a man does in his work… except for the child, woman’s creation is so often invisible, especially today.
Chapters like this resonated with me. On the other hand, some chapters didn’t resonate with me at all. For example, there’s a section talking about what it’s like when your kids leave the nest and a woman realizes she’s left with so little… not a concern for child-free me.
So while some parts, isolated, are amazing, others I could have passed over completely. If you like this idea of this book do pick it up though – your mileage is likely to vary.