I will begin the musings of my Mexican adventure in a little place outside of Acapulco called Pie de la Cuesta. Standing on the warm sand watching the sunset awakens my sense of awe and insignificance. Standing at my side, M.I.P. turns to me and asks a question. Why do you love the ocean?
This is not the first time that particular question has been posed to me. Friends, lovers, my own mind. It has been discussed before. Pondered. Philosophized. I have pensively gazed at the vastness and ruggedness of the Oregon Coast many times over the years. Flown over the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans. Staring down from airplane windows. Standing on cold northern sand, smooth Hawaii sand, deep Mexican sand, course Thai sand, wooden San Franciscan boardwalks, paved Senegalese sidewalks in Dakar, yellow-green grass under the Statue of Liberty, smooth pebbles of the French Mediterranean beach. My eyes capturing different hues in different lands. Grays, light blues, deep blues, sky blues, rich blues, blue-greens, translucent, murky, milky, wild and calm. My feet soaking in different textures. Ice cold as a million needles penetrating the skin, warm water in warm air, cool water in hot air, silky, sandy, oily.
Why do you love the ocean?
Because it makes me feel small. Insignificant. Because it is awesome. The real definition of the word awesome. My definition of the word. Your heart hangs in moratorium. It pauses between beats and you can feel the pressure of the pause. A weight on your chest. And you experience this not with thoughts, but with the lack of thoughts. It takes calculable time before you realize that you have stopped breathing. So you breathe. And in that breath comes the smell of a great force. Salt infected air. The only place air can be heavy and fresh in one delicious moment. You close your eyes to sense this great force. And you CAN sense it. In your bones. In your ears. In the breeze on your face and in your hair. Your fingers stretch to soak up it’s power. Your back lengthens in desire to float up into the sensation. To fly. While your toes dig into the sand. Not to ground you but to act as a conduit. The energy of the ocean passing through sand and toes and calves and spine. Circling through veins and muscles and nerves. The tips of your outstretched fingers are charged and the wind whips the current around your face. Your mind sends it up into the sky and your being flies with it.
And you know that this force can kill you. Violently, softly, passionately, indifferently. It is vastly more than you. And you know that there is no God because there is THIS. To attribute it to some higher power is to cheapen what it is already. Incomprehensible. Powerful. Awesome.
I do not need to feel more powerful than the ocean. What a foolish notion. To feel your own insignificance is to feel your own beating heart. Because you may be small in it’s wake, but you aren’t nothing. You are a part of it. The moon dancing with the tides. The ancient creatures gliding under it’s surface. The union of ocean and rivers, bringing tales of mountain peaks and warrior fish and it’s contribution to man’s electrical ingenuity. The rains falling to earth mixing flavors: soils, garbage, sewage, rot, mulch, death, life. All of this combined and collected in the ocean at your feet.
Here you are. A part of THIS life. Why? Why would you ever want to miss it in favor of a dream of a different life where you are not your own? I don’t understand. If you gaze upon these oceans and attribute them to God then you are not paying attention.