I’ve always been drawn to the ocean: the soothing lap against the shore, the invigorating crash against the rocks, the call of the seagull, and the boats bobbing across the horizon. It doesn’t surprise me at all that I live near the coast where the ocean, though not my backyard, is only a few minutes drive away.
As an angsty teen, I would sit on the rocky beach in Maine and stare out across the water daydreaming of a future where I took to the seas like a modern day Magellan. Buoys bobbed, bright sparks of color on the blue-gray water, while lobster boats tooled across the cove. I went to the ocean when my grandfather died. Snow was still on the ground and the air was a bitter cold and I stood, my feet freezing, for hours while the adults talked about what was to be done. Years later, when my grandmother died, I sat on the flat rocks, the same rocks she sat on, and cried until my head throbbed and I was gasping for breath. The sounds of the ocean and the warmth of the sun did little to comfort me at first, but the longer I sat there the calmer I became.
My years at Flagler were half spent at the ocean shore. No longer the rocky shore of my youth, the long stretches of sandy beaches didn’t hold much appeal. I liked them okay, and sitting on the sand was pleasant enough, but without tide pools to explore or rocks to climb, I had trouble getting excited about the beach. It wasn’t until Ashleigh and started going that I learned to love the sandy beaches with the crashing waves. We learned to boogie board together. Catching waves and gliding to the shore. We bobbed together over the rolling waves waiting for just the right one. When I was pregnant with Cyra, I would drag a pile of textbooks to the beach with Ashleigh. While she played in the wave, I listened to the ocean and studied.
Today, we go to the ocean for fun and relaxation. The pounding waves still sooth my heart and I find myself drawn back to the shore to stare across the water whenever I am feeling lost or sad. All my life the call of the ocean has been strong. I dream of a time when I can sail across the ocean and explore the world.
It is unfortunate that I am stricken with mal de mer.