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The Ocean

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

Auguries of Innocence, William Blake

I ap­proach the wa­ter. The first, smooth, cling­ing stretch of a wave reaches me and feels like liq­uid air, since the wa­ter has no tem­per­a­ture. It’s just there. It’s al­ways been there. Like the beach I’m at, like the green moun­tains ris­ing around us. Honest and eter­nal. The ocean begs for a visit.

The sound of the waves drenches my thoughts, tight­ens my guard.

I re­spect the ocean, I’ve al­ways has. I love it, but re­spect it. Love with­out re­spect is just care­less­ness. Respect with­out love is cow­ard­ness. You can kill a bird by lov­ing it too much you’ll never set it free. You can live a life never speak­ing with the girl next door, just to wit­ness the mo­ment when it’s too late. It’s so easy feel­ing cocky when in the ocean. You’re free, you’re in con­trol, you can feel the sandy bot­tom com­fortly be­neath your feet. But as with most nat­ural things, you’re never ever in com­plete con­trol.

A medium sized wave is com­ing in. The physics of it is ex­cel­lent: I can see it build­ing up from afar, col­lect­ing power. Power from all the oceans be­hind it. The ridge starts ap­pear­ing, like a sand dune. I’m far away from where I re­ally wanna be — in the ridge area — so I’ll need to tackle this one from the front. The ridge con­tin­ues to roll and build and roll and build up to a grace­ful, mer­ci­less gap of wa­ter with white foam like teeth at the top.

The wall ap­proaches. Depending on the size of the wave, you can do two things. If it’s a small to medium one, just stand where you are, refuse to curl up to a ball in front of the wave. Stand up re­silient, like a Greek war­rior, with your arm stretched for­ward like an ar­row through the wa­ter. Turn side­ways, not ex­pos­ing the width of your torso for the wave. Steady, like an ar­row, you will pierce the wall of wa­ter and ap­pear un­hurt on the other side. The other tech­nique, when the wave is large, is to dive through it. Again, like an ar­row, aim for the roots of the wave with your hands above your head and thrust through it. Some peo­ple aim for the body — the cen­ter area — of the mass of wa­ter, but that’ll be like jump­ing straight into a wall. The wave is in­cred­i­bly pow­er­ful, with all its mo­men­tum, pre­cisely in the cen­ter. You don’t wanna face that en­ergy of a thou­sands oceans be­hind it. Remember to ac­count of the af­ter­maths of the wave — the back­wa­ters.

I come up be­hind the wave, feel­ing the cur­rents that came with it. The main cur­rent be­neath the wa­ter sur­face is strong to­day. One thing I learnt from the ocean is that it al­ways takes back things be­long­ing to it. And other things too. Objects from the ocean of­ten re­turn to the ocean whether they like it or not. I’m far­ther out now, not feel­ing the sea bot­tom any­more. No safety line, just de­pend­ing on my body’s sta­mina. Another wave ap­proaches and I lay on my back, let­ting the rolling mo­tion of the ocean gen­tly take me in for a bit, un­til it’s slowly fad­ing and crashes in foam on the beach nearby. I swim out a bit far­ther out in or­der to catch the po­ten­tial big waves I know will come.

It’s much about wait­ing, as every surfer would know. I don’t claim to be one, but I think I un­der­stand the art of wait­ing for the right mo­ment. I don’t want to tire my­self out for the wrong wave. While wait­ing, there are lots of things to do: think of that thing you’ll need to do to­mor­row, about that you need to work out more, about how the sun is so nice and strong to­day, or just think of noth­ing but your­self and the ocean.

A huge wave comes in. Builds up. I can feel that tin­gling feel­ing of that I need to get my­self in or­der fast fast fast. I swim out to get in po­si­tion; right be­fore it peaks I’m in the cen­ter of mo­men­tum and swim with it, to­wards the beach. It’s too fast, I should’ve been far­ther out, but noth­ing I can do about that now, is it. This is just about dam­age con­trol now. The wave does­n’t care, it marches on, tak­ing my legs with it from be­hind, and every­thing around me be­comes a blurry green-blueish sheet. Now the wave is close to the sea bot­tom, and I will go from be­ing in the laun­dry ma­chine to be smacked like a shirt on the rocks. The sand bot­tom comes from nowhere, and I got the pleasent sur­prise of meet­ing it up­front. Scratches my back, and I know that’s gonna hurt for a day. The wave drags me all the way to knee deep wa­ter, just do die out. I love this: not to be in con­trol, to be in a nat­ural chaos, and re­alise that to win the fight you should­n’t fight at all.

I was ham­mered. Crushed. Since I did­n’t took the right de­ci­sions when I needed to. Since I de­cided to try to take on the wave where I was­n’t ready. But I’m happy, like a lit­tle bird that just made its way out in the world, and got a bit roughed up. Next time”. I walk out in the wa­ter, and swim out.


Now what if you ex­change the waves” above with people”?