I first saw an ocean in 1974 at the Jersey shore. The Atlantic spans cold and cruel, stretching beyond one’s imagination and certainly beyond the reach of yearning. The Eastern sea never claimed my affection, though I gasped as I crested a hill and first beheld her wide expanse.
I lived in Boston for ten bleak months after graduating from college. I never felt at home there, nor did sound of the Atlantic ease my perennial longing. I came away unconvinced that I could ever feel peace anywhere but the landlocked Midwest of my childhood.
Then I wandered westward into the irresistible pull of the Pacific, into the wave of welcome for which I yearned. The Atlantic scorns your adoration; the Pacific invites you to rest on her shores and heed her song. I’m older now, of course. As the last third of my dubious life commences, it stands to reason that I might see romance in different quarters. But my heart did not fabricate the sonnet of the western sea. She might not speak especially to me, but neither does she silently sit on the wide expanse of the horizon. Her endless melody drifts to shore on following winds. I lay my head upon the meager pillow and fall asleep to the soothing rhythm of her voice.
It’s the second day of the seventy-first month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.
“Heart is sea,
language is shore.
Whatever sea includes,
will hit the shore.”
“May you have fair seas and following winds.”