There is a Salty Cure for Everything
by Anne Martin -- February 23rd, 2015
“The sea is emotion incarnate. It loves, hates, and weeps. It defies all attempts to capture it with words and rejects shackles. No matter what you say about it, there is always that which you can’t”
I love the ocean. I’m not sure exactly why, but you don’t explain your affection or love for some things. Maybe you won’t or maybe you can’t….
But perhaps it is the space. The feeling of endlessness.
There is a salty cure for everything.
The flow of the tides. Endless, endless, endless. The ocean rolls and rolls. Tangles your hair. Rubs the hard parts smooth.
Walking down to the beach, it’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to be down or disappointed or anxious or any other kind of feeling. It’s okay to sit there and watch the waves break and feel the way the sand molds slowly around your toes and maybe it’s warm, or maybe it’s a cool day and you’re wearing a jacket and you’re hoping a wave doesn’t catch you day dreaming.
When I close my eyes in the midst of a long day, when I’m away from the sea, I can feel my mind reawakening. Cracking open, slowly.
I pause, rummaging around for old memories. Feel them stirring beneath closed eyelids. And then it’s there. The sea. A mirror for the sky. An expanse of space as big as we can find.
I can picture it, its movement, its sounds, the way fingers of waves search the shores.
I love to watch the waves slipping in from other places, from some other day on some other beach. From thousands and thousands of miles they come to land here, breaking at this moment before my eyes in a playful little ripple running up the sand.
There are days when it hurts to look at the water, when the sun makes a fan of shining shimmering light, a walkway from you to the horizon.
There are days when it feels like you could take a walk out there, walk on the shimmering sun path to the edge of the world. Stand there on the rim of the ocean. Lift up your arms. I want to be where only the birds seem to go.
I worry about her, the sea. “The solution to pollution is dilution” they said. But the world is never as big as you think it is.
And the flourishing ocean world, a world still hidden from us in so many ways, now seems to be showing signs of collapse. Discarded fishing lines, plastic bags, and bottles of all shapes and sizes bob their way into massive shifting pools of human development. The side-effects of modern society. The dirt of modernity. The forgotten, the discarded. Is an ugly world just past that shimmering horizon? Is that what really exists just past where the water turns to sky?
I worry that some day it will be. Or worse, that it really already is. I sit on the bank of the muddy Mississippi river near my home in Iowa and watch the water flow slowly south. Pesticides and nitrogen fertilizers drip from my river. And poison my sea.
Of course nets still stream from the ocean depths, but now they are less full. Always less full. Commercial fleets, scouring the seas, have reduced in the number of large ocean fish to only about 10 percent of their pre-industrial populations. We are we consuming a world that we had only just begun to explore.
I like walking down the coast. There is no path. You don’t need one. You’re just following the waves. Heading for the next corner, eager to see what’s around it.
That’s probably how I should begin to live. Following the edges. Finding the lines between worlds. Breathing like the tides. Moving with the ups and downs. Walking to the next corner, and thinking only of the shifting sands beneath my feet. Knowing that the footprints I left behind will soon be gone, swept by the waves, and that my future prints will be too.
There is a salty cure for everything.
May we learn to heal the sea, just as it heals us.