I live by the ocean and it is beautiful. Not more beautiful than living in the woods, which I did for many years, but it is very different. One of the reasons it is so different is because it is much noisier by the ocean. The waves crash and even when they are gentle, they have a splash that is impossible to ignore. Sometimes the wind is so big that you cannot hear yourself talk on the phone. Or watch a television show. When the waves are gentle I go out to the cliff and see them hit the rocks and am reassured. Things are as they should be. But at night, everything gets amplified. Out in the darkness by the ocean, when I go there with my flashlight, it is magic. The waves look so much more animated crashing against the cliff. The flashlight illuminates just the crest of the wave or rock and yet, because there is no other noice to distract or muffle the sound, it is even louder and more articulate. You hear everything. It is impossible to not think of the sea as an alive fully inhabited entity. During the day, it is there, obvious and loud, just itself; but at night, anything could be happening underneath. It is its’ most exciting at night.
There is something about the ocean at night that brings me to myself in a way that nothing else can. I feel a part of a world that is completely free of human interference. Of human misery. Human treachery. I become optimistic and playful. That something so powerful, that is impossible to control, that holds so much life is there for me to be with. Sometimes I’ve brought my husband or a friend with me at night to the ocean, to share the experience. It is always a mistake. For me, it is my own ocean and even though I want to share it, it doesn’t work. I am shocked by the voice of my visitor, it is an interruption in my communing with my friend. I’ve stopped making that mistake, I hope. I am the oldest child in too big a family. It is hard for me to share.
I know I am not alone in being in love with the ocean. It has been a source of mystery, admiration and fear for eons. That is probably part of what makes me feel so connected to it. It is a way that I feel a part of humanity. I understand.