Monday, July 03, 2006


I love the way it moves, the way it feels on my skin. I marvel at the rhythmic rolling of the foam. I love that I feel so infinite when close to it, so peaceful and serene. I wonder where this water has been, and how many times it's been here, how many bodies it's nourished, how many homes it's destroyed.

I lay there on the sand, sweet summer sweat. I don't mind at all. I bake, I glisten. Broiling, it's time for a dip. I love the way it rushes around me, pushing, pulling, rolling in and out. And did you know, that if you time it just right, you can ride on one of those ephemeral whitecaps? I love it.

Every time I go, I can feel it as I get near. I can sense that the ocean is growing closer and closer, until I can see the endless expanse of azure with my own two eyes. And I always have that same thought, "How nice it'd be just to stay."

And in the very next moment, always, comes the rebuttal. That if I were to stay, to make a life here, the awe and the wonder would fade, giving way to the norms of daily life. The roar--constant, unchanging, yet dynamic, a soundtrack to my temporary escape--would become an unbearable annoyance. I would hate the traffic, the tourists, the sand everywhere. The ocean would never be quite as beautiful, it seems, if I saw it every day.

And so I go, just for a little while. And as I head north away from the coast, I can feel it pulling me back. Something inside of me is begging just to stay a little bit longer. And I've got to go.

I think I like it this way, with these short, frequent visits. I've never been far from water. I grew up in a town laced with bayous, sitting (vulnerably, it seems now) right on the shore of Lake Ponchartrain. I live now barely a mile from the Mississippi, althought with the levee I often forget it's even there. I wonder how all those other people survive, living in the middle of the country, in places like Kansas and Oklahoma, so far from the ocean.

Back in Louisiana now, my skin still smells of sand and salt and sunscreen. I'm hot, red all over. It's okay. This is my favorite thing.

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