“Thou great star! What would be thy happiness if thou hadst not those for whom thou shinest!” – ‘Thus Spake Zarathustra’, Friedrich Nietzsche
I long for the sea.
As the rain builds up halfheartedly from the wayward drizzle that it was a few minutes ago, and the bone-chilling wind rattles the window panes, I want to feel the sand being pulled from underneath my feet. It is yet another form of dispossession- a reminder of the transience of life, the memento mori that keeps you from falling on the wrong side of the wall. In my head, I see the dark, velvety sky generously speckled with stars and unfurling into the distance, kissing the crests of the waves. Silky skeins of moonlight dapple the black waves, silhouetting the anchored ships like phantom vessels returned from an age long forgotten.
The sea has a soul. It fills the universe with its incessant murmur, swishes around my feet and caresses them, transports me into giddy heights of satiation; the discordant voices in the background and the chaos of traffic could be from a parallel universe, for all I know and care. A salt spray tinged with the odour of fish wafts into my nostrils, the stars beam their beatific light upon my upturned face.
Have you known the dance of delight and fury of the sea, the tepidity of waters that unexpectedly send a shiver down your spine? The foamy breakers come to rest around jagged, mossy rocks, seeking a moment of peace and rest before they are caught up in the sea’s wild orgy again. The sea is life.
And I stand on the shore, city lights forgotten, primitive and one with a past that lies dormant in my breast, tearing frantically at invisible curtains and cords. I want to match my voice to the sea’s alternately eerie and soothing roar, let it ring uninhibited through the wide open spaces. Isn’t this where we came from? Weren’t we better off foraging for food than we are now, complicating our lives as we overload our platters?
The sea speaks to me-
You are the vine growing against the weathered wall and humbled by its plainness. You are the parasite and the host it feeds upon. You are the personification of vanity and desire, a facile object of mirth in Nature’s hands. Above everything, though, you’re an island.
Once here, you make the best of the devices at your disposal. I can shut the raucous crowd out with my thoughts, keep the necromancer at bay with my own powers. I can conspire with Nature, but I must be wary of her because at the slightest sign of presumption, she can do a volte-face and disown me with ruthless abandon. Complain peevishly about the futility of life, an ambulance will tear by at breakneck speed, lights flashing and siren wailing urgently. On a day of the brightest rainbow fancies, the pillow will be steeped in tears by nightfall.
Foolish, fickle and fragile though you are, you’re here for a purpose. Connect, and you’ll know.