Ocean Letter


What do you say to the ocean? It quickly becomes apparent that many expressions become irrelevant. The cold truth of the matter is that the ocean cannot understand you, and does not care. Perhaps, however, this is liberating. The message becomes free to become whatever it wants. I wondered if there was something that I may have been subconsciously inclined to leave out elsewhere, and if a non responsive ambivalent audience might be what I need to say it. Not entirely aware of what I was looking for, I set out anyway with a draft of what I might wish to say.

If you’ve ever written in the sand, then you’re aware that it is not an easy task to preform precisely. I became immediately reminded of this when I put the stick down on the beach. While I wanted to pull ideas from a draft, and work them seamlessly onto this medium, the ocean rejected the notion outright. Here is the draft I went with:

I imagine that the distinction between walking and swimming is smaller than we perceive it to be. Water acts in many ways like air does, but with a greater resistance. In a way, water slows down time, magnifying the force it takes to move through the world. If it took the same kind of effort to stand up and walk across a grass field, we might choose more carefully which corner we want to end up in.

Given infinite time, this would be irrelevant, but we only have our lives to work with, and the field is larger than our ability to perceive it. This is where we wake up, at an undetermined position within an unperceivable time frame. We are fortunate enough that this time and place is not deep within a vast void, but among a bustling metropolis of physical laws bouncing off of each other. In addition, we have the capacity to look out at the shadows bumbling along, and can trace these places we will never go. You don’t have to go far to witness a large part of realities mosaic.

And we stand not only among the infinite perplexities, but as a part of them. We are limited in our senses to the edges of our bodies, but the governing laws of the universe cover all ground, from the center of our minds to the outer reaches of reality. Everything we feel is part of a grand amalgamation of all that is existence. When we are happy, sad, or afraid, the universe is happy, sad, or afraid. The concept of being alone assumes a separation that does not exist. You are not alone, you are everything.

This is not what ended up being written. I needed to work at reasonable pace, and to do so meant working from memory, improvising, and letting the words and letters stand as they passed. While the product was in many ways similar, it had been irrevocably changed by the medium I tried to present it in. The ideas had shifted, and the images were tilted. I can’t tell you how, because it’s gone now, washed away by the tide. Perhaps somewhere in there is a response of sorts. While I would never personify the location in that way, I suspect the way it altered what I wanted to say may have been the sign I wasn’t looking for.

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