The sea has always frightened me. Its strength, sheer magnitude, its many faces. Small waves could make me stumble while larger ones would wash over me gently. One moment the water would rage and storm despite clear skies; the next, it would look like a limpid pool, begging to hold you in its arms, promising to keep you safe while you float, staring at the clouds. I used to think of it as a huge half-sleeping animal, temperamental at best, threatening and beautiful at the same time.
When I was a child I never ventured far, preferring to paddle around in the shallows. I would try for hours to catch the foam in my cupped hands but be disappointed with a thin film of sand instead. Nevertheless I kept trying. Kids don’t disappoint easy. Besides, half the allure of the creamy white foam was that it could never belong to you. It just slipped through your fingers time and time again, and the lingering bubbles on your fingers beckoned you to try harder.
As I grew older I went further out but not by much. My toes would dig into the sand and the muscles in my thighs would flex, aching as I strode out against the current, deeper into the water. Still, something made me hang back, at a respectful distance, cautious of the ever rising waves. Continue reading La mer