Seaside

by the sea she sits

watching the waves crash over and over again

her blank stare collided with the violent ocean movements

her fragile body sank into the warmed sand as the water slinked up the beach

desperately trying to touch her

next to her a book that reads Gone With The Wind laid on a small quilt

the checkered baby pink and faded lime green quilt also held an old fashioned film camera and a what seemed to be a collection of shells

at that moment I knew nothing about her accept she may possibly be a romantic due to the book

she interested me because she looked so unbelievably in place

she seemed to simply exist, without disrupting any of the everyday inhabitants, very quietly and naturally

above her seagulls circled in a draft

their wings sat almost as still as she did

she wore a white silk dress and a large scarf that wrapped around her whole upper body

then I see her hand lift and point out into the wide plane of water

she soon retracted her hand, probably remembering that there was no one to show what she had spotted

the water stood still and glassy all the way out to the horizon

I followed in the general direction her finger pointed and saw a large explosion of water, soon after there was another much smaller spout

my best guess is a humpback whale and her calf because it was around the time for their migration

soon after seeing the whale I picked up my things and walked down the beach in the opposite direction of the mysterious woman

hopefully you enjoyed a short glimpse into my outside perspective on an interesting stranger

found on Adobe Stock

From the Ocean Looking Up

in those rich minutes the light was heavy warm gold 

viscous with the weight of the looming sky

her wet skin reflected the light as if it were oil 

floating in the sodium and the waves

rocking back and forth

I fought the incessant ocean

that colossal blue 

as it pulled the warmth from my heavy limbs 

I was suspended 4 inches from the glassy surface

blowing fat bubbles that distorted your reflection

from pinterest

My Turtle Koa

For Christmas my grandma gave me a turtle. Her name is Koa, and she came with a little bead bracelet and a card to track her movements in the wide ocean. I scanned her code, and my phone displayed a map of where she was released.

Her journey began on the coast of Florida as her rescuers released her into the wild. I could see she had already swam miles up the coast of the United States. She had passed Georgia territory and was nearing North Carolina.

Her little fins took her across half of the country, and halfway back. When I had previously thought about sea creatures, I had always imagined they’d stay in one area that they called home. My experience with Koa, however, has showed me that she is a true explorer of the ocean with no limits or boundaries.

I am grateful to have a connection to a living part of the ocean that I can check in on each day.

Image Credit: Shane Meyers

A Cold Ocean’s Call

it was bitter and cold 

in the great green pacific.

and the warmth crawled out from my bones

as the words in my head slowed their swirling.

instead of going with them,

there I would sit 

socks in the sand

I kept high and dry

Always away from that wet;

I hadn’t yet felt it’s unavoidable pull

that siren’s song.

I hadn’t let the cold seep in,

I hadn’t plunged into the ocean,

But I would.

The ocean begs for our attention

it begs for big words

and soft sounds

a deft touch 

and a guiding glance

to make sure

that we

who sit in stony silence 

will be kept in time

by the rising and falling of 

the great green pacific

From: Surf Simply

Dawn patrol

This week I went surfing at 5 am for the very first time. I got up at 4.30 am and got ready. I got dressed, grabbed the wetsuit, grabbed my bag and waited for the van to pick me up. It was freezing outside but I was so incredibly excited. I always wanted to go to the beach before the sunrise and swim and surf while watching the sun rise. As soon as we arrived at the beach we put our wetsuits on, grabbed our boards and headed to the beach.

I was barefoot and we had to walk a little distance to the beach on concrete and my feet were completely frozen and in pain from walking on the hard and sharp concrete. I finally stepped on sand and immediately ran towards the water. I stayed in the more shallow spot first to just practice a bit before my teacher called me over to try some bigger waves.

After many failed attempts I finally managed to stand up for just a second before I fell but it was still amazing. The sunrise was absolutely beautiful and there were many seals just swimming around us. One of them popped its head up right next to me and looked at me curiously before it dove back down.

It was my first time being at the beach before sunrise and it was a long dream of mine that I was finally able to fulfill.

https://www.liveabout.com/what-is-a-dawn-patrol-3154748

Determined

Last week was my first trip to the beach since coming out of quarantine. I had been looking forward to it the whole week and then it was finally time to leave. We packed our surfboards and wetsuits and made our way to the beach.

It was a hot day, the sun was shining and the mood was good. We sang songs in the car all the way to the beach and when we arrived we immediately grabbed our stuff and ran down to the beach. Feeling the sand between my feet and the sun on my shoulders felt so good. I hadn’t been to the beach in 6 months and it felt so good to be back. My friend and I looked at each other and just started running towards the water like two little kids. The water was cold but also warm, just perfect. We swam for a few minutes before we decided it was time to get on the surfboards and attempt to surf.

Well, we definitely miscalculated how big some of the waves were and just got slammed to the ocean floor. It was a struggle getting out in the water again as the waves just came crushing in, taking you and your board with them. When we finally made it out we waited for a wave that was small enough for us, as we have never really surfed in our lives. We kept trying and trying and every yet so tiny success was enough to keep us motivated.

We ended up being in the water for 3 hours trying to stand up on our board. At one point we were so exhausted we didn’t even have the strength to push ourselves up anymore. The sun started setting, creating a beautiful bright orange color that reflected from the ocean. It was time to go, and our teachers called us back in to pack our stuff and head back to the van.

I will go back to the beach again tomorrow and I will not give up until I stand on the board surfing down the line, even of it will take me weeks to accomplish it.

Picture credit to author

Stars on the Open Ocean

the men in that big wooden boat heaved against the ocean

that endless blue

through the night they rowed

moving galaxies out of the way with each successive stroke

in the middle of the boat seated parallel to the back of the outrigger

one man focussed on his brown arm and the way it seemed to work by its own volition

his bicep roared in its quiet fight against the mighty open

In the back of the boat one man fell so deep within himself that he lost track of the stars

but the boat knew the way

and right here sat a boy who simply rowed

in time

open like the ocean

https://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/2016/08/26/hawaii-news/two-day-oil-painting-workshop-at-volcano-art-center/

Concentric Circles

Image via OxfordLearnersDictionary.com

Like two concentric circles

I feel the dawns and risings

Falling into time

Orbiting and cycling like rings of some grand design

Winds blow me where the water runs in time

To keep my eyes above the ribbons parched and frozen

Like an ocean master’s finger hold

Her careless calloused caress

It screams of devotion

Of a calm

Of a sailor’s test

Her arms are ragged and fearless

Her toes are soaked and furled

She holds it all together

Like god holds our world

She chews upon ideas

Like a mouthful of wonder

Like cheeks full of zeal

And I am left on the deck like a blubberless seal

Wondering where along my path will I learn such sacred songs

I feel like I can hear them

Like leaves

The lessons

thrust to the ground from their canopy homes 

and dragged

Like billions of fingernails on a world sized chalkboard

Refuse

Photo credit: zmescience.com

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

The three words we have all (hopefully) heard since our early childhoods. Anytime you go to throw something away, they spin in a constant loop in your mind reminding you what to do with plastic and waste.

Unfortunately, these words have lost their meaning. I like to think that we are starting to become more environmentally aware, but the truth is that not much is changing; or at least, change isn’t happening quickly enough.

Here’s the thing: while we might all be aware of our incredible impact on the environment, we’re not actually doing anything about it.

After watching a TEDx Talk about this subject, I learned some frightening facts.

  • It is predicted that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than there are fish.
  • For many manufacturers in the world, the United States especially, it is less expensive to use new plastic to produce items than it is to use recycled plastic. In 2012, only 9 percent of post-consumer plastic was recycled. The remaining plastic was discarded.
  • “Without a profitable market in which to sell used plastic, many recyclers export it, in a process known as outsourcing waste. In 2011, America’s primary export to China was used plastic.”
  • Plastic does not biodegrade. Over time, it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces called micro-plastic. These microscopic pieces of plastic are eaten by organisms, which are then eaten by tiny fish, which then are eaten by bigger fish, and so on. Eventually, the plastics that have been eaten by marine life will work their way up the food chain to humans. Even though we might not be physically eating it, the chemicals from plastic have been shown to be linked to obesity and cancer.

While it might not be our fault that the oceans are filling up with plastic, it is our responsibility as human beings to resolve this problem.

Photo credit: plasticsoupnews.blogspot.com

Oftentimes we are desensitized to the harsh reality of just how damaged the planet is becoming. Sure, we know that we’re not treating the environment as well as we could be, but maybe we think that it won’t really become a problem until we’re not around anymore. Maybe that’s right, maybe we won’t start seeing the real effects until our generation is long gone.

But if we don’t correct past mistakes, there will come a time when there is no land on Earth that is untouched by plastic. There will come a time when there is no more fresh water available, or when it is impossible to stay outside for longer than three minutes without being sunburned due to the ozone layer dissolving. There will come a time when our planet’s resources have all been used up so that it will no longer be able to sustain human life.

Photo credit: Ticotimes.net

So we have to start now. There are so many simple things that we can implement in our daily lives that can contribute to bettering the environment. The next time you get a drink at a restaurant, don’t take a plastic lid and spoon. Pack your lunch in a bandana or reusable containers instead of in a paper or plastic bag. Do everything in your power to end single-use and stop using unnecessary plastics.

Simply put, we need to stop teaching our children the words “reduce, reuse, recycle,” because they just aren’t working anymore.

We need only teach them one word: Refuse.

Waves

I walk across the beach, the warm sand sifting beneath my feet. The soles of my feet burn as each sun-tinted grain touches my skin. I curl up my feet, feeling the sand between each of my toes. I take a deep breath of the salty air and look up toward the sun, closing my eyes, letting the sun’s rays wash over my skin.

(Photo Credit: atlantisbahamas.com)

I walk toward the water, the sand growing cooler and spongier under my feet. I stop, letting my feet sink into the wet sand. I relax and let my weight fall, seeing how far down I can go.

I take another step forward and dip my big toe in the water. The salt is tingly on my skin, and I ease my foot in. The water is cold, but refreshing. I take another step. I ease in to my ankles, then my knees, then my waist. I stand in the water, feeling the current course throughout my body.

I take another step. The water is up to my neck. The waves crash over me, pushing me down. I am completely submerged. I try to swim to the surface, but I can’t tell which way is up. The water is colder now, too cold, and the salt is stinging my skin. I am tossed around as the violent, churning water surrounds me. My eyes burn as I search for light.

I am caught in a vortex of water, spinning around and around, unable to break free. The waves are choppy and the water is cold – the warm, soft sand only a memory from the past. Seconds feel like minutes as I continue to struggle against the water that holds me prisoner. The once clear, gentle, welcoming water has turned dark and cold. It pulls me toward its depths, holding me tight in its grasp.

(Photo Credit: brigadewakesurfing.com)

I am starting to run out of air. Lights flicker behind my eyelids as my lungs flutter from deprivation. I can’t breathe – I am being suffocated. I toss and turn as the water pulls me down, down, deeper, deeper.

I can just make out the bottom in the distance – a faint line of dark, jagged rocks. I am afraid of striking them, and I struggle even harder. I can see a light now, but I don’t know where it’s from. It could be the surface, or the light dancing behind my eyes. The light flickers, taunting me. Still bound by the waves, I struggle to move toward it. I’m afraid to get too close. I don’t know what the light means. I don’t know if it’s coming from the surface, or if it’s something far worse – I don’t want to go the wrong way.

I am beginning to lose consciousness. My vision is going blurry, the edges are starting to go dark. The waves are enveloping me, suffocating me, before I have time to choose. I have no strength left, and no more power to fight.

I force my eyes open and struggle to remove myself from the water’s grasp. I can’t move. The waves control me, pulling me down, down, down. I hit the rocks and the light is gone. I couldn’t decide.