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To the Ocean

To the Ocean
Maryam Alatmane

The waves are dangerous. Most know this already; some, are yet to find out. I stand, staring out at the vast ocean that stretches further than any eye could ever hope to see. Water laps against my feet as I walk in, wading deeper. The sea, it calls to me, drags me further- icy water reaches my calves, my knees, mid-thigh, until my lower body is submerged. Then I stand, and I listen.

Nature is its own music; far from shore, I hear the crash of waves slapping sand, the gentle lapping of water around my body, the soft silence before the sea resumes its attack. This is what peace sounds like.

The waves are dangerous. One drags me down, under the water and I fumble, open my mouth, swallow salty water, gasp, close my eyes, reach for the light and the sweet, sweet air with flailing limbs until finally. I break free and rise, spitting out a mouthful of sea, rubbing my eyes. The waves are dangerous, yet the ocean entices me, and I find myself running back, always running back.

It’s funny, I muse, how scared I was of the waves, when I was a child. The fear was not unfounded when what seemed like walls of water were engulfing me, but now I am in love with the danger.

I am in love with – no, mesmerised by – the strength that drags water from water and lifts it up, lifts me up with it, if I’m lucky. I settle into a slow front stroke, one limb after the other, blunt blades cutting through water. A wave, then another, hoists me up and carries me on its way to shore.

I dive under an incoming wave; close my eyes as the water streams past me. I emerge, fling my flowing hair back from my face and laugh. The rushing water is a melody to my ears. I push my hands through the water, feel the pulsing, living beat of the ocean; I fling my hand in the air and watch as the spray falls, like a sprinkling of crystals.

As I wade out, the sea tries to pull me in. I will be back; the whispered promise tumbles out of my mouth and shocks me with its conviction. Ankle-deep in water, I turn and marvel at the power of the sea, of the waves. The waves are dangerous, it’s true. But that is no reason to be afraid of the sea.

~ To the ocean, a declaration of love