I always wondered why I'm so smitten with the ocean. I didn't grow up in a state that bordered the ocean (though, I was only a few hours from the Jersey Shore), and I was fifteen years old before I'd actually laid eyes on it for the first time. But, my fixation and love affair with the coast has always run super strong, even as a little kid.
One of my most unshakable goals has been to (one day) live by the sea. I would have a home right on the beach and it would be perfect. You know the vision, the beach with the rickity old fence and tall, delicately swaying grass... the kind with the pink sky over peach sand at dusk. Maybe a Carolina beach... or Maryland, if I wanted to be closer to my family.
Still, the color/quality/temperature of the water wasn't so much of a vital element as the presence of sand and waves and extreme amounts of water. It leads me to think that, at the root of it all, my desire was immeasurable escape.
I don't typically get too personal in blog entries, but I will say that my baby brother and sister and I, we had it tough as kids. Things were painful, they were dark. But, I suspect that my heart kind of latched onto the ocean as a light at the end of the tunnel. With that vastness and all that promise, lands and people and lives and ways of thinking that I couldn't even fathom at the time, the sea was probably more than just a breathtaking site to behold. It was a symbol of escape that became a life-long love.
In spite of the loyalty of my affections, the ocean has always gotten a big kick out of messing with me. That instance I mentioned above, when fifteen year old me first saw the ocean, I remember standing in the surf and staring out at nothing but the Atlantic's slate blue water, and my brain couldn't process what was happening properly, so my legs--quite embarrassingly--decided to run backwards of their own accord (with me still attatched, thankfully). After a few moments, my equilibrium returned and I was fine. But, at the time, I couldn't figure out what in the ratchet wrench had happened. I probably looked like an idiot... it was great fun for all.
And that wasn't the only time the ocean screwed with me. One summer, during a vacation to Ocean City, Maryland with my Aunt and cousins, we were all wave-diving (which mainly consists of the possibly life-threatening but no less fun act of swimming out past the sand bank and waiting until the biggest wave is nearly about to smash you to bits before you dive right into that sucker.) Well, there's a skill to wave-diving. You don't go rushing into it, jumping head first into a wave that is still a few feet away. NOOoooo. That would render disastrous results. It's a game of cat and mouse, you see, of chicken... and what you want to do, is wait for that SOB to be right in front of you--'bout to smack you in the face, really--and then you dive right into the heart of it, and ideally, it will carry you smoothly to shore.
As you probably suspect, that was not always the case. And since I wasn't killed, the outcome was quite comedic.
Consider this image, if you dare. Take a fifteen year old girl with major body issues, put a bathing suit and a t-shirt on her, and set her in front of one of nature's most powerful forces. Then, tell her not to jump into that confounded wave too soon.
Watch teenage girl promptly jump into that confounded wave too soon.
Watch confounded wave flip her underwater like a basketball in the rinse cycle. Yep, I was tumblesaulted, with no small force, up onto the shore like a sea lion, with sand invading places it has NO business being. And, to add insult to injury, I was callously deposited, in full view of the masses, with my t-shirt pulled over my head.
It was hysterical. I still laugh about it, actually. Aah, the memories. Really, though. Those trips to the ocean with my cousins are some of the nicer memories from child-dom. So, here's to you, salt water. And here's to that dang beach house... I will have you some day!