There are some things that I think about/feel/know when I’m in the ocean that don’t come to me in the same way any other time. It’s not about surfing. I step into the water and stand there with it swirling around my knees, or I lie on my back and float. And things come to me.
Lo Que Es La Orilla del Mar:
It’s the end of the world and the beginning of what is after/before. Es donde la vida eterna se toca con la vida mortal. It is the place where now meets forever. Right here. Right where my feet are. This is the place. It’s the end.
It’s also the beginning. It is the amniotic fluid that carries our planet which is constantly being born.
I like to float on my back and look up at the sky. I think about how only a thin layer of skin separates the salt water I am made of from the salt water that holds me up. It’s those few millimeters that keep me from blending in with Everything. On land, I am an individual. In the ocean, I am molecules of salt water among the others. It’s not a bad feeling. I tried to write a poem about it but there wasn’t anything else to say.
The Feeling of Zero:
I step into the ocean and what comes to me is the feeling of zero. Not in a bad way; in a good way. You might call it “peace” or “balance” or something, but for me that’s those aren’t the right words. I feel zero. My Mennonite upbringing would probably say I am feeling “forgiveness”—but there’s no sense of relief associated with it, and no guilt. It’s quieter. Like zero is what I owe and zero is what is owed to me. Like I’ve done, or am doing, what I have to do, and nothing more is required of me than to be what I am. Zero doesn’t mean that everything is going to be alright, or the way I like it. It means that the world was here before me, and it will be here after me, and THAT is what is alright. I don’t need to do or become or accomplish anything in order to make things different than what they are. Like I do not owe a debt to the Universe and It does not owe me a paycheck. Zero. A good zero.
And one more thing.
I walk in to the ocean, past the breakers when the tide is low. I lie on my back and float, looking up at the clouds. I think, “This is where I will go when I die.” Right there. In the ocean, past the breakers. It’s not a major item of concern for me what happens to my body after I die—my main concern is that it happens a really long time from now. But who are we kidding? I don’t have children or grandchildren who will want to visit my grave. Got knows I haven’t got a red cent to leave behind, so I don’t imagine anyone will feel possessed to bury me.
I used to think about that in the States. “Please, when I die, take me and pour me into warm salt water. Don’t leave me here. If I can’t live where I belong, at least take my ashes there.”
So I float in the ocean, miro el cielo, and I wonder if this is not in some ways like lying in my grave for a while on a sunny afternoon. Just floating. Checking out the scenery. Watching some hunting birds glide by now and again. Sometimes you can see the moon. Feeling the good kind of zero.
Does that seem morbid? I hope not. If it does, I did a bad job of describing it. It’s very peaceful. Then I have to trudge back onto the sand, pedal my bike up the hill, and decide what to make for dinner.