Monday, June 18, 2007

La Mer

Ah. La Mer. There are few things one must try to do in one's life, being in an ocean is one of them. Like riding a horse or great sex (in rare and heroic cases, both at the same time), it is an experience incomparably unique as it is indescribably pleasurable. You don't have to be right in the middle of the South China Sea, just neck deep in seawater near a shore. I would strongly suggest an Asian shore where the waters are warm instead of say Cannes, in the South of France where its freezing even at the height of summer. Then you can soak in its pungent acrid saltiness, feel its primordial being beneath its wavy tresses, and taste its ancientness on your lips or tongue. Whenever I float, drift or stand in the ocean, I feel a sense of timelessness, a sense of being before if something incomparably old - perhaps one of the oldest things on this earth. This water if not a billion years old then at least a few hundred million years old. One of the oldest artefact on earth and you could just jump into it any time.

That horizon in the distance is deceptively close, but it stretches on and on for miles in a seemingly ruthless perfect flatness. What's more this stuff is twice the mass of land in this world. Its vastness whilst appearing comprehensible at a distance, becomes inconsolable once you are actually in it. If you have ever swam in choppy waters for a while, you will find out just how tough it is to move even a short distance in there. And just how awful salt water can be. So that makes all those things living underneath pretty amazing in terms of how fast they can move and how deep they can go. Furthermore, fish move faster in their element than we do in ours. We are also at the mercy of currents. So to be in the ocean is to be also physically vulnerable from all kinds of threat for example, illness, being eaten or poisoned.

So we must be extremely humble in the face of such antiquity and careful for it is not a necessarily a benign one either. For the sea cannot not grant any mercies even if it wanted to. There are no exception to its rule.

I love the ocean both from afar too. At any time of the day. And by afar, I really mean maybe not more than twenty feet from the shore. Watching the sunlight glimmer of the moonlight on the shoulders of each waves crest, or fall asleep to its gentle lapping like the sounds that escape from a cat as she is grooming herself, lulling you to sleep with its unchangeable rhythm, or watch a fiery sunset fuming at the inevitable, spit its colours on to the ocean's skin, staining it in angry protest. And the attendant wind on the shore front has been for me the best part of the ocean.

There's nothing like getting blown on the beach.

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