OCEAN CITY — A lifelong love of the shore inspired one Ocean City resident to write a poetry collection devoted entirely to the beach, the ocean and her love of the open air.
The collection, entitled Sea-Renities, was also inspired by her spiritual views, said author Elayne Borland, and will hopefully be a legacy that she can leave behind for friends and family.
“This is a forever thing, which is why it meant so much for me to get this published,” she said.
A denizen of the beach since childhood, Borland’s appreciation of the sand and waves has never diminished even after decades of exposure. The opposite has happened, in fact, with Borland growing to become more attached to the beach now than ever.
“I never take it for granted,” she said. “There’s not one day that I’ve taken it for granted that the past 15 years of my life, since I’ve been retired, that I’ve been able to be on the water wherever I am.”
Borland began trying to frame that appreciation of the beach with words many years ago. She would spend the day out on the sand and would write on whatever was close by whenever a verse came to her. It wasn’t just the signs of nature that went into the poems, Borland added, but also an element of people watching as well.
“When you’re there, you know it and you’re feeling it. When that breeze blows by you and those waves are coming in and you hear the seagulls pass you, you know it,” she said. “But not everyone can put it into words, what they’re experiencing and what they’re feeling.”
Borland’s spirituality is also clear in the poems.
“And other times whole verses would come to me. The only way I can explain it is as a collision of two loves. It’s a collision of my love of God and my love of the ocean and the beach,” she said.
In keeping with the faithful tone of the collection, Borland shared a personal anecdote about her final resting place. A lifelong devotion to the beach will continue even after life, she said, with her memorial stone already designed to feature an etching of a beach and the first four lines of verse that she ever wrote, which begins with, “The place I want most to be is surely by the sea.”
After a friend gifted her a notebook, Borland started to organize the poems in Sea-Renities with the goal of publishing a collection. That inclination grew into a drive in recent years when health concerns caused Borland to worry that she might not finish the poetry collection in time.
“It just became more of a passion, to make sure that I could put something in the hands of the people who knew me so that they would always be able to remember me by it,” she said.
Like her memorial stone, Borland wants Sea-Renities to serve as a legacy and as a reminder for those who have started to take the shore for granted that there’s something new and special to be found every time you walk onto the beach.
Borland reached her goal in May with the help of friend and professional illustrator Tyler Hollis. Using Amazon.com’s Create Space self-publishing, Borland released an illustrated volume of beach poetry inspired by her time on Florida’s coast, visiting the Caribbean and especially by her years in Ocean City. Hollis, a member of the Society of Children’s Books and Writers Illustrators, provided a watercolor picture to accompany each poem.
“It was my way of saying goodbye to my friends,” said Borland. “It was like a love letter to my friends.”
Singed copies of Sea-Renities are available at Donald’s Duck Shoppe in Ocean City and at the DiscoverSea Museum in Fenwick Island, Del. Print copies can also be ordered from Amazon.com and Borland confirmed that an e-book will be available “sometime in the future.”