When I Go To The Ocean Now...

When I go to the ocean now, there aren’t as many shells as there were when I was a child. Surely they aren’t all gone. Likewise, there’s no way that all the mysteries of the world will be solved and therefore gone, including the mystery of where all the sea shells have gone. It just can’t be that all the creatures that make shells have gone. Nature is inexhaustible, isn’t it? That’s what I want to believe. I’m no oceanographer, though I did begin to read a substantial book on the subject. It was the fate of the Titanic and other ships lost at sea that steered me to study the sea. I love the sound of the sea, the endless movement of the water, the brightness of the sun, the freshness of the air, and even the life-threatening storms that brew over the water.
When I think of the ocean I think of sailing, especially how much fun it was to learn to sail when I was in summer camp by the sea. I went out on a little boat with an older counselor who impressed me with his knowledge. He showed me the ropes, so to speak, in a single afternoon. I was somewhat in awe of him but I became very excited at the next day’s prospect, which was sailing solo. Even though the boat was small and I couldn’t go very far into the ocean, the experience was pure magic. Sailing is so smooth even in choppy water. Life feels more fluid out there, the softness of the water providing a cushion that’s absent from a landlubber’s life on hard ground.
Water is such a crucial part of life, among the absolute indispensables, the sine qua nons. What would life be without water? When scientists investigate far-flung planets, water is what they look for first. What does a man wandering in a desert desire most? What could substitute for water?
The ocean washes away my fears. It brings me face-to-face with something vast, something far larger than myself, and yet it’s tangible, less finite and abstract than the sky, which trails off indecipherably into the infinite (as if I could conceive of such a thing). I think that’s what many people, if not everyone, wants: some feeling that they’re a valuable part of something larger than their own small moments, some connection to the big affair.
I think sometimes it’s small connections I desire—to be in love again, for instance—and I deeply desire that with all its trials and pain, though I hope for something sweeter now, having felt so much pain. But people come and go and lives move very rapidly today, so maybe interpersonal love is really just pie in the sky. I feel I know  little about love even though I do know that I have great amounts of it inside and do long so to give it away…
rwollman rwollman
3 Responses May 19, 2012

I don't think you are wrong/at fault. Between email, cell phones, texting, even EP, it has become easier to interact with people without having to look them in the eye. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the convenience these things bring, but at the same time, I try not to rely on them too much or let them replace actual human interaction.

The ocean is my soul's solitude. It's reconnect. When you write of "world demands", "own agenda's"...doesn't this simply mean the detachment from nature?<br />
Something that your connections may not have an awareness of. <br />
I learned a practice in Qi Gong. This practice encourages walks in nature...hugging a tree, if you like...being present to the animals that happen to cross your path or fly above you....Being the observer in this vast ....grounding ocean of subtle communication. I research the animal totems and how nature may be expressing itself to me. It always applies to life and it's immediate lesson or validation. Nature is the classroom!

I have the distinct feeling that we've met.

I love the sea as well. It makes me feel calm and grounded and makes life's problems seem insignificant sometimes. The last time I was at the ocean was probably around 5 years ago in Maui. As beautiful as it was, it made me sad to see no shells (probably all picked by tourists over the years). It was even sadder to see all the garbage and pollution on the shore after a storm the previous night.<br />
I feel like there is a loss of connection: between us and the earth and between people in general. I would like to believe that these connections can be restored, that we can learn to love each other and the earth again. Sounds naive, but that is my wish. I too have large amounts of love to give, but it seems that not many are open to receiving it. People build walls around their heart. I have tried this as a method of self preservation, but in the end it does not work for me. My love is vast like the ocean and I want to share it with people.

Howdy, sleepwalker. I second your hope for the restoration of connections which will allow the free flow of love. And I think you're right about the loss of our connection with nature.

But one thing has to happen in order to make those connections: people must slow down and somehow learn to pay attention to one another. I find that many people, perhaps most, are so fixed on their own agenda that they can't listen, they can't observe. The world demands such speed that most people can't take the time to be fully human.

Now it could well be that I'm the odd man out, the guy who lives in a world of his own (I've been told as much often enough). But I don't think I'm entirely wrong or entirely at fault.