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The sea at Esalen.

January 17, 2009

Sea is another one of my favourite words.

How lovely it is to wake up to the sound and the smell of the sea. It’s not like waking up in a marina, where the waves are lapping gently, and there’s always that “tink tink tink” sound. And the heaving and creaking of old boats. And the waves crashing in the distance. No, this is much wilder. No wall to hold in those massive waves. No boats to harness the wind. This is how I like nature the most– when it’s wild and free.


Our dance teacher yesterday was telling us how every single thing in life has a dance to express itself. Even the “I’m not going to do ANYTHING” dance. Even the “I’m having the shittiest day in the world and I want you all to fukkoff” dance. And yes, even the “I can’t dance” dance. She was telling us that by expressing the dance that we are feeling in the moment, instead of trying to dance a way somebody else is, or instead of trying to dance like a music video where they look cool, or to dance like you could dance five years ago (or even yesterday), and that to be able to honour your nature its imperative to express the dance of now. The reason for this, she pointed out, is that things change. So fast. You may have been feeling sluggish and heavy ten minutes ago but you just got this rush of energy that feels amazing but because you are so convinced that you are sluggish and heavy, you miss the energy. Pushing yourself into a mold. Even if it’s a mold of misery. (I notice this a lot with children, who start crying, and become so intent on crying that you can make them laugh, or even forget about why they started crying in the first place, but they will go back to crying the second they remember that that is what they were doing…)

There’s a girl at the table next to me, humming and drawing. She’s on her 3rd drawing already, big coloured pastel drawings. It’s lovely.

And the waves are still crashing against the rocks down there. Big thunderous crashes that are a constant reminder of the power contained within each one, and are just loud enough to never become a background white noise. (Power. It’s a strange thing, that the sea looks so beautiful, holds so much life, and yet has the power to destroy so quickly and ruthlessly. Sea, I think, is definitely a woman. At least I speak to her as if she is.) It makes me think of Piggy, in “Lord of the Flies”, how he died on that big rock and the powerful sea just sucked him away within seconds. Piggy’s remains are lying at the bottom of that imaginary sea somewhere, probably feeding the imaginary fishes, turning into imaginary coral or something. Whenever I see a big flat rock like that, I think of Piggy and I wish him an imaginary rest in peace.


And then Scotland, up the west coast, the stormy grey seas have this noise too. Although not such a big noise, of course, because everything in America is bigger– even the noises. I remember the first time I saw the Atlantic Ocean– I was in Oban with my mum and Alex (I think someone else was there too but I don’t know who) and we had been to the Caithness Glass factory, and we came outside and went for a walk and I asked what that sea was and she said “that’s the Atlantic Ocean”.
I had never seen an ocean before.

Let alone an ocean that had America at the other side of it.

And I couldn’t get my head around the BIGness of it all– how I could get lost out there forever and nobody would ever find me because there’s just miles and miles of stormy grey ocean. Or the little house that we would go and stay at– it was by this big lagoon, and there was nobody around and I would just wander out on the ridge between the lagoon and the sea. When I got to a certain point I would realise that I was standing out in the ocean, WAY out in the unknown and I’d get freaked out and run back to the shore, where I’d find treasure for a while… then I’d go back out and do it again.


And the sea was grey and stormy. That kind of blue-green-grey that for some reason is when the sea feels most comfortable to me. I don’t think, even spending all that time with my dad on his boat, that I was ever a true sea-lover until that point.

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