The Hallowed Sea
I love the ocean.
There’s something so enormous and yet so intimate about it.
It’s a bit like you’re walking around, listening to someone much larger than you breathing, sighing, gurgling with laughter (especially if you’re on a rocky beach). The air feels different. You can taste it. Sometimes that’s not so great, but more often than not there’s this crisp, salty green-ness.
I like the way my hair curls in the spray and the wind, even though it’s a nuisance later. I like the way kites almost always work if you can find the right angle. I like hearing gulls be plaintive but make these gloriously exuberant dives. I also like watching them be very silly about trolling along the smaller waves for crabs, and baby jelly fish, and odd little shrimps and sand fleas.
The sea fills the space in my heart and calms me, but also invigorates me. I feel so very alive after visiting the coast. I’m also almost always instantly exhausted and sleep very well. This makes driving home a bit of a challenge, as I’m anywhere from an hour to two hours away from the coast, depending on which bit I’m driving to and how I choose to get through the coastal range to get there.
In many ways, the ocean is my church, or at least, it fills my soul the way my mom and other people who enjoy church seem to have their souls filled.
And yet… I understand why there are songs speaking about the horrific sorrow of the sea. The danger and overwhelming ruthless nature of the sea. I think it feels so intimate to me because, deep inside, I feel those things about myself.
I feel the overwhelming possibility of being about to love and nurture, while at the same time the deep depths of never being able to laugh again. A breath in, a breath out and then calm for just a moment as a whisper of words changes a mood again. The feeling of your soul opening to embrace the sun or the mood or star light that can still, without warning, shift with a bad moment like a storm to raging thunder and rain, slamming of mental doors and bitter tears about any sort of thing.
I love the ocean, so very much. But I do understand why so many cultures treat it as a person, because it can feel just as complicated as we feel to ourselves. And we seek to understand ourselves, and the world around us, I think by relating. So we try to reduce her. But perhaps, we should be looking at how expansive we are.