“We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch it, we are going back from whence we came.” President John F. Kennedy
Back to the sea…Ah! Being able to travel to the sea waters is one of the rewards for being old enough to be retired. For my husband and me, the ocean draws us to it each winter. We cannot imagine staying anywhere where we would wake up and not see the ocean. We never tire of it because it’s constantly changing. One day it may be quiet, tranquil, and showing off its beauty modestly with tiny waves gently lapping at the shore. But add a little wind or a storm and in minutes it turns ferocious. Waves rise and crash against each other, creating booms as loud as firecrackers with a force that can knock down and pull away sand, trees, and humans.
The colors run from deep blue to emerald green to a soft turquoise. At times, it collects the sun’s rays and scatters their brilliance back to the sun as if billions of tiny mirrors were floating on the top of the water. And just when I’ve taken picture after picture of the peacock-like colors, it morphs into shades of gray and black, dotted to the horizon with slashes of white caps that roll and climb in a manner that can only be described as dismal, angry, and boiling. No wonder ancient humans believed the sea was controlled by a god that had a short temper. Inanimate it is not!
What is it about the ocean that makes human beings flock to the waters en masse as if we were lemmings racing to the edge of a cliff? We came from water – as mammals gestating in a fluid-filled sac. And remember your biology – adult human bodies are almost two-thirds water. So is it any wonder we feel drawn to the ocean? I find that the unobstructed view of the water meeting the sky fills my heart and my imagination. There’s a sense of peace together with curiosity. The noise of the waves is calming and stimulating. And while I am one of the unfortunates who gets seasick on big ships, I still find myself craving the chance to, as Enya put it, sail away, sail away, sail away.
We admire and respect water so much knowing its importance to us. Religions use it to “wash away sins” in baptism. People decide to start their lives together by getting married near water. And after life has ended, some people are buried at sea or their ashes scattered in the water. That the water on our planet is older than earth itself is mind-boggling. To think of all the creatures and people for thousands and thousands of years who stood on shores gazing across the same water I watch is humbling.
We humans are truly a part of the waters we love. It is a one-sided love, but a true love that will last until the end of time.