Before going forward, I would like to offer you the option of visualizing your best version of the beach. See it in a way you choose to and pick a memory that warms the heart, which coincides with what I’m about to say.
One of the reasons I love the ocean as much as I do is because the waves are perfectly anonymous. It is said the sea has no memory but I’m not sure if I agree.
I could stand and face the ocean for hours. I can walk up and down the beach and whisper my thoughts. I can tell my secrets to the outgoing tides and give my confession and feel cleansed, like the shoreline beneath my feet.
Partly because of my earliest memory of togetherness with my Father and partly because there has always been something about how the ocean breathes; and partly because I’ve had moments when I stood at the shoreline and felt as if it was okay to abandon my thought here; I was allowed to pardon myself here — I can let go, and partly because there is an idea I have about being somewhere out there beyond the shipping lanes in an open sea and partly because I have memories of the sunrise on both the east and west coast, which have been so meaningful and moving to me — the sea has meaning to me.
They say the sea has no memory, but no, I can’t say this is true. I can only say the ocean is the biggest keeper of secrets. I say she knows. She just doesn’t speak or tell stories. Maybe this is why I love the ocean the way I do. Maybe because I go here to speak to the spirits of my family instead of moping over a gravesite.
After all, the ocean does not get mad at me for saying my thoughts. I can tell the ocean my opinion. I can talk about my identity without worrying about the politics behind it. And she never gets offended She never turns her back on me. I can speak my mind and not lose a friend because my politics are not the same. Maybe this is why I love her the way I do.
And she listens too, which is rare because I’m not sure if people listen anymore. It seems we all have our own agenda. We all have our own biases. We have our predictions and opinions that create our projections and expectations.
I suppose my reason for loving the ocean the way I do is because this is my sanctuary. This is my place of worship. There is no hierarchy. There is no government. There is only the ocean and the waves and the tides, which rise and fall like the chest of something much bigger than any of us.
My favorite times are the best times, which is when the beach is empty. The season changed and the usual crowds have forgotten her until next season. But not me. No, I see the indentations in the sand, which tell the tales of a trillion different footsteps. And yet, the sea never tells and she never complains. She just endures. She just keeps breathing, regardless to who minds.
There was a morning I remember. I was going through something. I was young and everyone around me was finding their own direction. One of my friends was just married the night before, and there I was, standing on the beach with my hair blowing in the wind. I was still dressed in my tuxedo. My tie was undone and the collar of my shirt was unbuttoned. The waves were crashing on the beach and the sun had just arrived to pull off its shift.
As a matter of fact, the sunrise was so pretty that even the quarter moon stayed around just to watch the sky change.
There are times in life when chapters are about to change. There are times when words fall short. Either we don’t have the language to speak or we simply don’t know what to say. But ah, don’t worry. You don’t need words because the sea understands. She is the best translator of unspoken thoughts, And she’s been doing this for millions of years too.
The waves come in to cleanse the sand and when they return, the sea rolls out to wash away the unwanted sentiments.
I imagine myself here sometimes. I close my eyes and think of the goldenness across the early morning sky. I close my eyes and imagine the sound of waves tumbling into sand. I think about the cries of seagulls and the smell of the salt air.
I take in a deep breath and imagine the feel of an offshore breeze across my face. This is why I say I believe the sea remembers. I say this because she knows how to greet me each and every time.
I could use a morning like this. I could use a trip to the beach. Maybe I could go to Point Lookout and walk over by the rocks on the side of Jones Inlet. I can watch the draggers and long-liner fishing boats head out to sea.
Just out of curiosity, have you ever built a sand castle?
I haven’t tried to build one in decades.