Yesterday found me sitting, staring at the Atlantic Ocean from east coast America, short weeks after glimpsing the Atlantic from the southernmost part of Africa.
I experienced the same phenomena of swimming in one sea but in a completely different place last summer, floating in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Lebanon, and then Spain within one week.
All this to say: salt water has- among other things- an incredible ability to kindle reminiscence and nostalgia.
Water is often anthropomorphized, for though it does not act out of conscious decision, it stimulates living organisms into action, moving us physically, emotionally, even spiritually.
I found myself questioning this; in particular questioning the idea of people finding rest in the ocean. Why do people speak of the sea as medication, calming, even paradise?
Is it purely due to the association of the sea with holiday, with a break from the business and routine of life? Or is it in the nature of the water itself?
Is it the foam sliding up the sand then bubbling back down in the pattern of a masseuse’s hand relieving a body of tension?
Is it the current that smoothes the tide to the side, as a mother’s hand soothes the brow of her child?
Is it the rhythmic crash and fizz of the waves, the releasing metronome without monotony?
Whatever it may be, for all its tranquillity the oceans cannot escape the innate truth that lurks in their soul, namely: danger.
The uncontrollable nature of the tides, the currents, the depths, whisper to us ominously.
This menace beckoning us to adventure, so aesthetically cloaked in shimmering aqua, it’s unending, luring you in whilst simultaneously warning you with its cold bite and salt sting that the hazard of adventure may prove too cruel for some.
The power of the water is undeniable, begging the question: how much more powerful must its creator be?
Psalm 77: 16
When the waters saw you, O God, when the waters saw you, they were afraid; indeed, the deep trembled.
Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”