The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.
I’m sure there are people on this earth who don’t feel drawn to the ocean.
I am not one of them.
Its complexity – the way it shifts and changes like a living being – speaks to my soul. Calm and glass-like in the morning sun, it inspires an air of zen-like tranquility and hope for the day ahead; whereas in the evening light, its indigo moodiness provokes more meditative thoughts.
And during the day, the din of activity on its beaches arouses my carefree side, while the rhythmic drone of its waves evokes a sense of peace and relaxation. All of which often lie concealed just beneath the day-to-day drudgery of life.
Being near the ocean calms me. Gazing out over it grounds me. But I think author and television writer Jill Davis said it best when she stated, “The waves of the sea help me get back to me.”
It’s in our blood, my mom has said of the ocean. For she is also drawn to it, for reasons that are her own. Because I think it speaks to each of us in different ways.
Our vacation to Hilton Head over Spring Break was Lil’ Bit’s first trip to the coast since becoming old enough to gain awareness of the world around her. And immediately upon arriving, after a very long day in the car, Mom and I took her hands in ours and headed for the beach.
She smiled when she first laid eyes on the ocean. It was tentative, fleeting… and then apprehension set in as she registered the sheer enormity of it.
But two days later, we biked to a cove on the Sound, where the water was much more calm and not quite so… large. And as she stood in the sand with tiny waves lapping at her feet, Lil’ Bit’s love of the water began to emerge.
Later that evening, with my parents out to dinner, she and I headed back down to the beach alone. I hadn’t thought to bring my camera; there was no way I could have known that the impromptu walk would gift me one of my most beloved memories of my daughter to date.
At first, she contented herself with using her little pink shovel to deposit clumps of sand into the surf, giggling each time it kissed her toes. But then she got bolder and waded farther out, splashing in the swirling waters until her shorts were thoroughly soaked through.
In and out of the surf she ran, her peals of laughter ringing out over the whoosh of wind and waves. Until suddenly she stopped and stood stock still, her gaze on the horizon, head slightly cocked as if listening to a call that only she could hear.
A moment later, she took off down the beach at a full sprint, legs churning beneath her in the surf like a little sea tern, her unruly ringlets – wound even tighter by the salt air – sticking out in all directions. Under any other circumstances I would have followed behind her trying to smooth them in a vain effort to contain the beast. But against the backdrop of the dusky beach and dark blue waves, that crazy mane of corkscrew curls seemed wholly fitting – as wild and beautiful as the ocean itself.
The entire scene was hauntingly magical and left me captivated in its spell. I was watching my daughter fall in love with the ocean. And it was utterly breathtaking.
“You belong to your mommy and me,” my mom told her as the three of us stood together on the beach that first night. “That means the ocean is in your blood.”
And I think maybe it is.
Is the ocean in your blood?