This year marks the 66th anniversary of the publication of Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s classic, "Gift from the Sea." I have just reread it and was so impressed by its sentiments that I have decided to give copies to my close friends.
The book invites us all on a journey of tranquility and an acceptance of a new life of calm.
The book is a slim one — some 125 pages in all — but each page is more powerful than the one that precedes it. For the book’s re-release on its 50th anniversary in 2005, a new introduction was written by the author’s daughter, Reeve Lindbergh.
I first read "Gift from the Sea" about 50 years ago when I met Mrs. Lindbergh in Hawaii. She was living on the island of Maui in an A-frame, tropical-style home at the side of a refreshing waterfall. I visited her with a design friend, Nancy Barr, when our office was decorating the Hana Ranch at Hana on the east side of Maui.
What made our visit so special was the simplicity of the author’s space. It was magical, with little to no clutter and chairs of a contemporary design.
A table was simply set with teacups, a sugar bowl, a creamer and a teapot. A cup of tea is always welcome, and it certainly was with Mrs. Lindbergh that afternoon. The author herself was small and delicate, a perfect reflection of the life she appeared to live, with its simplicity and subtle details.
There was nothing grand or glamorous about the setting. The tea towels were embroidered with small flowers and birds, and the chair upholstery, as I recall it, was pale green or pale blue.
There also was a lovely sense of nature in the air, with sunshine streaming into the house and the sound of the waterfall outside. It all seemed so appropriate, as we talked with Mrs. Lindbergh about the special shells she encountered on the beaches of Captiva, the small island on Florida’s west coast. She had written "Gift from the Sea" on Captiva to express her feelings about the shells and those whom they represented to her.
Why and how one lives is part of the book’s message — and how one might love is another.
I hope to read this magical treatise again and again, to remind me to cherish the calm, such an important choice in these stressful days. I hope you, too, will soon read — or reread — "Gift from the Sea." It’s a treasure indeed.