Saturday, 20 February 2010


Coast lines and bodies of water have been a theme for me since my arrival here in Colchester. I've taken field trips to the North Sea, to Orford Ness, to Minsmere, Southwold, Dunwich, Dengie. We talked about the sea this week in Wild East. Jules said that the light, the ozone blue of the sky on that particularly sunny morning, made him want to go to the beach. That seemed funny. I saw the same beautiful sky and was excited about the day, but I was feeling that the beach was the last place I wanted to be. It made me start thinking about my relationship with the oceans. I've always wondered if I were landlocked in the middle of the country if I would miss the ocean. Growing up, the ocean was always just over the mountains. I knew where to find it. I thought I'd miss it when I lived in Norwich, but I didn't really. I didn't miss it in DC. I enjoyed going to visit it when I lived in Orange Country and LA. I spent a bit of time by oceans in Australia. It was exciting to see where the Southern and Indian Oceans met. It was thrilling to watch the sun rise over the ocean in the Whitsundays and to see the belt of Orion set into the black water. I'm not sure what my relationship was with the ocean when I was younger. I remember going to the beach. I remember the discomfort of sand in every crevice. I remember playing in the waves. I remember a sandshark swimming over my feet and being terrified. I must have been about seven. And now I'm sort of terrified of the ocean, though not as a result of that fish fluttering over my feet. I like the ocean fine from land, from up on a cliff, or at a safe distance or possibly on a flat beach with my feet in it so long as the water stays below mid-calf. I enjoy watching waves crash on the shore and dolphins arching their way along a beach. I love the sound of sea lions barking to each other. I love a blue ocean, the variation of colors as it moves from shallow to deep. But do I need an ocean? I've visited it more than I thought I would since I moved here, but I could do without it. True, the North Sea doesn't really do it for me. And technically, it visits the front of my building twice a day with the tide. I like a river. I'm craving forests and mountains. When I need a retreat, it's usually not to the beach. Maybe I've been spoiled and there's always been one within driving distance.

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