I consider the ocean the definition of the sublime; its grand vastness leaves me in awe, forcing me to understand just how small I am in comparison to the land, the sea and the universe – in the most eye-opening, frightening and positive of ways.
My love and fear and respect for the ocean first fostered when I was in elementary school. My dad had bought his first fishing boat, a 28 foot Grady-White that had one small indoor room that was more accurately sized as a bunker. Whenever my dad drove the boat outside the bay and into the ocean through the channel, I started crying so much that my mom and cousins had to try to calm me down as I sat clawing my orange life vest that was wrapped around my neck.
From there, my dad bought a 38 foot Riviera, the Sofia Rose, and the ocean became associated with Mexico. We drove the boat down to Ensenada for the Summer when I was about ten years old. We spent all of our summer weekends at the Hotel Coral, cruising on Mexican waters.
I grew up on the ocean, not in the ocean. My first initial fear of my dad driving his first fishing boat into the ocean away from the bay has stayed with me when it comes to beach days. I have a great admiration and respect for the creatures of the sea (Great White Sharks and Orca Whales to be specific) and so every time I dunk my head into the ocean at the beach, I remind myself that I am in their territory now. For that reason (and I also drowned once – but that’s a different story), I am always reluctant when it comes to being a beach-goer but always a passionate and spiritual supporter when it comes to appreciating, witnessing and being in the presence of the great ocean.
To accurately sum up the power of the ocean, here are 5 quotes from the literary giants that show the poignancy of the sea:
“Doesn’t it seem to you,” said Madame Bovary, “that the mind moves more freely in the presence of that boundless expanse, that the site of it elevates the soul and gives rise to thoughts of the infinite and the ideal?” – Gustave Flaubert, “Madame Bovary”
For whatever we loose (like a you or a me) / It’s always ourselves we find in the sea – e.e. cummings
So that the monotonous fall of the waves on the beach, which for the most part beat a measured and soothing tattoo to her thoughts seemed consolingly to repeat over and over again. – Virginia Woolf
To me the sea is a continual miracle; The fishes that swim, the rocks, the motion of the waves, the ships with men in them. What stranger miracles are there? – Walt Whitman
“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” – Jacques Cousteau
Are you an ocean-goer? Beach-appreciator? Or “nah-I-hate-the-sand” type of dweller?