The song of the sea

Lifeguard's station. Fort Lauderdale Beach, Florida.

Lifeguard’s station. Fort Lauderdale Beach, Florida.

I’ve always looked forward to being in the water, and as summer draws to a close I feel a pang of regret in that I haven’t hit the beach as much as I should have. I don’t even have the pittance of a consolation that comes from swimming in a pool; my transition into the new job and my subsequently busy work schedule have prevented me from a typically carefree summer.

In a way the many icons of the season—from the oppressive but relievable heat to locally grown peaches—do not have as much an effect on my psyche more than my need to be near a body of water. Sitting here on my desk I remember a few bits and pieces from my youth. I’ve always wanted to be in water, for some reason. While a swimming pool works fine, nothing beats being in an open body of water. I’m twenty-six and I still can’t describe the great feeling I have whenever I swim. Is it the soothing feeling of being afloat? Or is it the acceptance that a moderate amount of control needs to be relinquished in order to enjoy the ocean? Is it the feeling of the breeze or the sound of the waves? Is it any combination, or is it all of these? Again, I am unable to exactly verbalize the “feeling of right” that I get when I bring together everything around me.

I just know, for sure, that whenever I do go to the beach, I leave with a profound sadness that I rarely feel in other possibly sad situations. I suppose, that with the fast way with which we live our lives these days, there is an allure to just leaving it all behind: the cell phones and broadband internet and forty-hour workweeks (hah!) and just relax and take it all in. With a digital camera and an offline computer I would be happy for a little while in the compromise between tech and tranquility. There is an almost juvenile quality to this desire for just “leaving it behind,” which, I suppose is the rationale behind taking periodic vacations, though for a few of us the return to “reality” can be far more difficult.

I hope that next summer I would be able to spend more time at the beach. Until then I’ll have to hold on to the pictures I have taken: a promise of vacations to come.

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