I’m up before dawn and sneak out to the patio by the beach. I sit at a white plastic picnic table that will become a kite in a violent storm. Today it’s clear. I can see the outlines of the mountains across the bay. They are layered cutouts of translucent paper, grey, purple, blue. Every detail articulated.
The waves fall on the beach like a child tired from playing. The pleats and swells of the water roll past each other. It’s a cat crawling under tightly tucked sheets. The ocean breathes, a sleeping giant.
As the sun rises the mountains become less precise. Haze blurs their lines. The surf is angrier now. The tired child pounds his fists on the floor. There is no embarrassed parent to bribe or beg.
I can the hear the ocean from inside at night, and from the restaurant and from the little shop where we bought cafe, cinco bottles of cerveza, and huevos that we carried home in a plastic bag. When I wake up long before daybreak I come and sit on the deck and hear the ocean that I cannot see.
It constantly sends its waves to the shore, and then pulls them back. Push and pull, give and take, cast and reel. Does it ever get tired? Burned out? Where does the ocean go for vacation?
It is not work or living that depletes me. When I think and sweat and create, when I speak the truth, when I push my body on a hike, when I connect deeply with a friend, I am more alive. My body grows weary and my brain tired. But low tide is different from burn out.
It’s holding back that wears me out. It’s carefully measuring words, weighing them on the scale of acceptability. It’s picking through feelings to choose only the ones fit for public consumption that drains my life away. It’s being quiet when I want to shout, treading carefully when I want to plunge in.
The ocean doesn’t worry about what we think of it. It doesn’t care if its tides are too high or too low for us. It doesn’t silence its crashing so that we aren’t bothered by what it says. It expects us to accommodate its storms. It is a leviathan and not just the home for them.
The average adult woman is 55% water. We are half ocean.
solamente cinco cervezas? donde esta seis?
Fuimos cinco mujeres. Una para cada una. No preocupes. Bebimos mas durante la semana.
These are my sentiments, exactly, Melissa about the ocean and about holding back being exhausting. You do “wax poetic” eloquently!!! I loved this. It is going in my journal. Thank you profoundly for your friendship with my daughter.
thanks for your words and I’m glad I struck a truthful chord. I am grateful for your daughter’s friendship. I’m lucky to know her.
Such beautiful descriptions in this post. It’s like I was in Mexico with you! (But seriously: pack me in your suitcase next time.)
“The average adult woman is 55% water. We’re half ocean.” That made me smile. 🙂
thanks, Erin. It really is beautiful!
Thanks, Melissa — wonderful metaphors/similes! And, since we have 2 cats who love to “help us” make the bed, I know I’ll see an ocean swell rolling across the bed next time. 🙂 And the insight of picking through our words, being in a situation in which we seem to need to hold back, as being what drains us, speaks to me.
Thanks, Lee. Glad it spoke to you.
I love this, Melissa. Printed out this post for all the times I will be rereading it. Thank you!
Thanks, Liz. I’m glad it spoke to you.