This is the second in my series of 30 posts to friends, mentors, and teachers who have inspired me over the past year. I hope you enjoy.

Dear G,

When I was little, you taught me about the power of the ocean. Your passion was so contagious. You started out with the physical benefits of salt water: for your skin, for your nails, for your overall health. Then, you taught me how to stand my ground when a wave was breaking, to turn my back to it, and brace my arms. (Little did I know what a powerful example of grounding this was). You told me what it would feel like if I got stuck in the undertow, and one day when I did, I knew how important it was to stop fighting that pull (the gift of surrender).

When I was a little older, and starting to understand heartache, you told me how the ocean helped heal your broken heart after your divorce. You said being able to walk the ocean each morning made every day beautiful to you again.

Thank you G, for the gift of the ocean and so much more.

In college, I stumbled across this poem, and it will always make me think of you.

First Lesson by Philip Booth

Lie back, daughter, let your head
be tipped back in the cup of my hand.
Gently, and I will hold you. Spread
your arms wide, lie out on the stream
and look high at the gulls. A dead-
man’s-float is face down. You will dive
and swim soon enough where this tidewater
ebbs to the sea. Daughter, believe
me, when you tire on the long thrash
to your island, lie up, and survive.
As you float now, where I held you
and let go, remember when fear
cramps your heart what I told you:
lie gently and wide to the light-year
stars, lie back, and the sea will hold you.