Posted by: Sally Ingraham | December 21, 2007

Stormy Waters

Originally uploaded by tuulenhaiven

I sat in my car trying to thaw my fingers with the stuffy automobile heat, while the engine of my Subaru Outback groaned. A jogger running by just moments before, while I was still outside, had kindly paused to turn my lights off before realizing that the car was running. There was no way, this morning, that I was going to turn the car off, or venture much farther away than 100 yards. The jogger was made of stiffer stuff than I!

Visiting Otter Cliffs in the ferocious cold of this bizarre December is becoming a habit with me. Today with the wind chill factor I am sure temperatures were flirting with the single digits. My fingers, even after I succumbed to wrapping them in red wool, can bear testimony to that. Having dressed for driving, with quick dashes into the elements, at times I was shivering so badly I couldn’t even begin to hold my camera still. Foolish me.

What a show I witnessed, however. Mount Desert wrapped itself once again in thick white clouds and snow yesterday. While the snowfall was mediocre, the waves the storm kicked up were a fine reward for my suffering.

It is amazing to me that such beauty can come from such wrath. The ocean flings itself in fury against the immovable wall of Otter Cliffs, only to be sent flying again in a glorious plume of foam. I saw storm surge go roaring 20 feet into the air today, and higher yesterday.

I went out both days to take pictures, but that purpose only disguised my true intent. It seems that whenever I am upset, or when my own life seems particularly stormy, I turn to nature. I can get more comfort, more focus, more heart healing solace from an hour or two of walking around outside than I have ever found anywhere else. I appreciate human sympathy and advice, and find it helpful, but for real soul searching and mind clearing I seek out the quiet of the mountains. Or in this case, the solid foundation of Otter Cliffs, tormented by wind and waves but still a firm place to plant my feet.

Call it communing with nature, call it speaking with, or listening for the whisper of God, call it what you will. Whatever it is, it’s worth braving frostbite to feel it’s touch. I feel remarkably better, and the pictures I took weren’t half bad either.


  1. As if I didn’t want to visit the Northwest enough already, now I’m absolutely dying to thanks to your photos! We just had a good storm here and the blanket of snow makes everything seem so clear, peaceful, and right again.

  2. I think it does matter what you call it…since nature has only the personality we project on it, while God has a personality, very definitely, of his own…and one which he has been at some pains to “reveal” to us. Or maybe it would be better to say that those who know God, however imperfectly, see his personality reflected in nature. (That’s closer to the way Paul says it.)
    “God is not dead, nor does he sleep” says the song of the season (In Bleak Mid-winter…written by a good New Englander, undoubtedly in a good New England winter) and what I remember when I go out to face him in crashing spray is just how much bigger he is than I am, how much bigger things there are in his world than my problems. That’s always refreshing.


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