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June 21, 2010

Did I ever tell you about the first time I saw the Atlantic Ocean? Mum had taken Alex and me up north on holiday. We were staying in this little cottage in a tiny village called Craobh Haven, right on the West Coast. The cottage looked out over this little bay, and there was a wall that ran out alongside one edge. Every morning I’d wake up early and walk out on that wall, all the way to the end. From there, I could see all of the islands that lay between me and the Atlantic. The Atlantic was an OCEAN, not just a sea. The big-ness of it fascinated me, just as the big-ness of things fascinates me now, still. One day, while on this holiday, mum drove me out to a place where I could see the actual Atlantic ocean.

I must have stood there for an hour, just trying to absorb the big-ness of all of it.

Tonight, as I was driving up the coast, heading to the beach, the smell of the sea hits me, and I am reminded of that day, standing in the rain with my little cold fingers gripping that metal railing, water dripping off my nose. And then I remembered when I was three or so, sleeping on my dad’s boat off the south coast of England. He would wait till mum was asleep, then open the hatch above my bed, slip a life jacked over my head, and pull me out on the deck to lie and watch the stars with him. The smell of the sea. The tinking of halyards. The rocking of the ship in the waves, and the creaking of ropes tugging on anchors deep under the water.

I remember being asked once what I would be willing to risk to be fully, responsibly, excruciatingly alive. It occurs to me that in order to be so, one has to risk absolutely everything at every single tiny given moment.

I walk the length of the deserted beach.

Dust hangs around the moon like a question mark.

The cold wind whips my hair around my face.

Happy summer solstice. That’s enough expansion for a while.

One Comment leave one →
  1. June 28, 2010 06:40

    You memories of your father are so vibrant and alive in your heart. You just drew the loveliest picture for anyone reading.

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