28 January 2013: I just returned from a two week trip out and about (oot and aboot). Alaska and California. I spent a lot of time around the ocean. Nearly all of my post college life has been spent living within 4 miles of an ocean. But until I graduated from college, I spent my entire life residing in Ohio. There's a big lake, but it's not even salted.
It is roasted in garlic.
The ocean really scares me. I've yet to have a comfortable experience with it. It continues to exist well beyond my comprehension. When I graduated, I left Ohio and lived for a year in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (the Michael Jordan year). I lived four miles from the Atlantic Ocean and made a point of visiting it almost every day. It was my first year teaching and my first year alone. I was constantly tired and constantly sick (both because of my 650 students and because I accidentally used fabric softener instead of laundry detergent for the entire year). I found the only trick to avoid fatigue was to rush to the ocean following school. I'd sit in a camping chair, drink coffee and write in my journal. Sometimes I would fall asleep. But every time- I was scared. Maybe I was scared that a rogue wave would swallow me whole, carry me to the black depths of the sea where I would be dissected by a family of squid and served on a bed of a kelp. They'd probably read my journal back to me in their silly squid voices, laughing at my thoughts and feelings. Typical squid behavior.
In Alaska I lived in the 3rd floor attic apartment of a church (churchkeep). I could see the ocean from every window in my apartment. It was absolutely incredible. That ocean was way scarier than the other ocean. There were frequent storms of enormous proportions- they'd thrash and crash all about our island. ahh.
I couldn't get enough of it.
On this recent trip, my friend and I drove from Oakland to Santa Cruz and stopped at some sublime views. Road trips are all about stopping at those places where everyone in the car makes a noise in gut reaction to beauty. We stopped a few times, sat in the sand and stared.
We also played my favorite Pacific beach game: find beach debris and throw it at other beach debris.
My heart trembled as if it were an entirely new experience.
In a way every time IS a new experience.
I scooped huge handfuls of damp sand and sifted the grains to my feet. I wondered about each grain as it fell to the beach.
I've always thought about the waves as a gift from the other side. I used to pretend that someone sitting in Africa was shooting me the waves in South Carolina. (brothers of the waves- perfect title for a terrible novel. nanowrimo 2013?) It's beyond my comprehension. It's a shadow of the infinite- a galaxy we can almost fathom- lapping at our feet.
I can't get enough of it.