the ocean

on the bus from nairobi to mombasa, bleary-eyed from lack of sleep, i thought i heard the ocean calling.  as we came down in elevation and the air changed, i swear i could smell the sea.  eight hours later, on the ferry to lamu, there it was- in my hands swung over the boat edge, blowing in my hair, spread out before my eyes.  what is it about the ocean i find so captivating?  waves pummeling rock to bits to make the powder white sand between my toes.  lulls and crests buoying my body, rocking, swaying.  the sheer power of it, expanse of it, simplicity of it.  the beach by day: sun blazes down, folks take refuge from the heat by paddling out in silly goggles to look at fish.  afternoon brings the breeze and pick-up volleyball or soccer in the sand.  as the sun starts its descent, walkers, joggers and beach-combers appear.  the sunset sends a rainbow of colors through the waters, then thousands of crabs scurry out of their hole-houses and head for the waves.  and if you’re in the ocean on the right night, in the right place, you can see magic: stars in the water.  not a reflection, but rather special algae that lights upon touch.  it makes the waves sparkle and, if you swim in it, your body glow.  the stars spread out from paddling hands like you’re a superhero or supreme being or whatever deity your religion inclines you to.  truly stunning.

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~ by aliciawolcott on December 12, 2007.

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