The sea is the same as it has been since before men ever went on it in boats.” –Ernest Hemingway
Recently, my work brought me to a seaside resort in southern Florida. Tough gig. As I stood on the balcony outside my hotel room overlooking the ocean I was struck by the roar of the waves crashing upon the shore. The sound was glorious. Back home in Nebraska, I often listen to the sound of ocean waves on YouTube while I work. It calms me. The real thing is so much better.
Before that moment, I’d only seen the ocean from airplanes and once from atop a cliff in Lima, Peru. This was the closest I’d ever been. I made my way somewhat tentatively down to the shore. As I slowly ventured out into the blue-green waters of the Atlantic, the waves rose to meet me.
The water was lukewarm and small strips of brown and yellow seaweed floated beside me.
I thought about the many animals who lived within the ancient waters. I hoped none would pay me a visit. (I prefer to love animals from afar.) I thought about the brave people who long ago dared to venture out into the unknown vastness.
Inevitably, I also thought of Hemingway. Most of what I’ve imagined about the ocean I read in his books. He always sounded so alive when he wrote about it and now I knew why.
Growing up I lived along a river. The sound of rushing water was ever present and is now forever ingrained in my psyche. This is probably why I love to be near the water so much. I love the power and constancy of it. Mostly I love the perspective it brings.
There is a letting go that the ocean demands; a dominance that makes all attempts to control it futile and one can just be free. There’s nothing like it. As much as humankind tries to control nature, we cannot stop the river from flowing toward the sea. We cannot tame the tide.
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