Monday, June 15, 2009

By The Sea


Last night we returned from a weekend celebration on Catalina Island. Despite shivering like crazy, we all stood on the bow of the ferry to watch the sunset. I didn’t dare try to get a picture. The wind was blowing so hard I was sure the camera would be whipped overboard. My hair would have snaked all over the image anyhow. Besides, it’s been years since I watched that big orange disk dissolve into the ocean. I didn’t want to miss a second of it, even to snap a picture.

Later, my daughter tried to describe the feeling she gets when she sees a large body of water at night. She said it’s beautiful but somehow makes her feel nervous and overwhelmed; she couldn’t quite put her finger on it. My husband said he gets a kind of nostalgic feeling. I thought I knew what they were getting at. I get a little melancholic, but it isn’t entirely unpleasant. My son said he feels the same but couldn’t describe it.

I thought it was interesting that we all seemed to be trying to describe a similar sensation – one that contained a peculiar mix of awe, hope and longing. It would be a challenge to find the right words; some feelings are just more elusive than others.

How would you describe seeing the ocean at night? Or what experience do you find indescribable?

14 comments:

Just Jules said...

oh now that is a feeling I haven't had in a long time - however you describe it..... maybe I have that feeling for that feeling right now ;)

Suzanne Casamento said...

I've rented a beach house on the central coast a few times that sits on a cliff overlooking the ocean. The sky and the water are so dark and huge. I've sat on the patio for hours just listening to the waves' thunder.

I think it's somehow mysterious more than anything. I don't know why...

Rena said...

I love being on the beach at night, especially if we're camping. There definitely is something fascinating about it. I can't tell if the ocean seems bigger or smaller at night, but it does change. Great post, Adrienne!

Keats The Sunshine Girl said...

My sis-in-law has a beach house at Lennox Head, Australia. Wow, just watching the sky and the sea - their changing at different times of the day/night. Really awesome! The kitchen faces the sea, so that's a great bonus.

Kelly said...

Dark, looming, immense, the unknown.
During the day it would evoke a totally opposite feeling for me!

Bish Denham said...

Having grown up on the ocean, the beach at night, swimming at night, is something I'm pretty familiar with. The feeling is all of those described by others. We are drawn because there is a deep physical connection; the salt content in our blood and tears is the same as that of the ocean. Plus there is an undercurrent of fear. It is an immense unknown. At night we cannot see what is in the water or what lies ahead. Imagine what the early explorers must have felt? Exhilaration, terror.

PJ Hoover said...

So cool you were all trying to describe the same thing. Hmmmm...ocean at night? I think I need to go on a trip!

Lilfix said...

At night the ocean sounds peaceful to me, but the way the moon moves across the waves makes me feel like something in the ocean is trying to climb out and get me...yikes...

Suzie said...

It does freak me alittle too. It seems so big and scary. Like looking at a sky filled with stars

Carrie Harris said...

The beach at night is one of the most soothing, gorgeous things I've ever seen. I envy all you beach-living people SOOOO much.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I'm with your daughter. But I saw Jaws and it profoundly affected my view on large bodies of water.

LW said...

I love the night ocean and the sound of the waves and the moon’s feet dancing on the salty waters edge.

I think I need to fly west to see that wonderful sight that no one can put into words ..

Louise

Mary Witzl said...

A vast stretch of starry sky does that to me, but in a good way. It makes me feel a little overwhelmed and it fills me with a sense of yearning, too. Those stars -- the ocean -- even simple rocks, will be there long after I'm gone. I think that's what I find a little awe-inspiring, but, weirdly, also reassuring. That there is a constant -- something that will outlast mere human existence.

Wish I could remember it -- I'm pretty sure there's a great word in Portuguese to describe this sort of aching, longing, overwhelmed yearning...

Shelli said...

love ocean during day. But at night when it is black - it scares me. The black abyss.