10 a.m. August 7th, 2018

 

There is this newfound love

Sprung in my chest

For I’ve caught my heart

Beating for that ocean’s jest

The will of the waves

The sway of the shore

And even the harsh breeze

I find that my mind is most clear

When it is nearer to the sea

And be it large waves,

Small ones,

Cascading rains or dry falls

From thunderstorms

To shallow waters

None of it truly matters

For my heart is merely content

To be near the ocean’s scent

To witness its power and beauty

In form most magnificent

I do not worry that I might best it

But I know that I need to be near it

My heart belongs to the sea

No lake nor pond will do me well

Like the oceans sway and swell

I know myself better than before

When I’ve got my toes in the shallow shores

And despite the affair I’ve felt

With colorful mountains far and wide

There is something stronger here

For I can feel a reckoning

The tide is calling

And the ocean is beckoning

 

 

It was another sunny day full of confused exploration in Iceland, not sure where I was going or what adventure I might get into but highly intent on going looking for it. On this particular day, August 7th, I was just outside of Olafsvik and driving within eyesight of the ocean. I could just see it an imagine the feeling of the water and the smell of the wind, and it filled me with so much happiness that I pulled over at the nearest stop and wrote this poem. It has been edited once since then, but I try to refrain from touching it for the simple fact that it takes me back to that time and place. Close to the water, where everything feels just right.

Being born in Indiana provided me little to no chance to experience the ocean. Lake Michigan was less than a couple hours away and there was a lake in our town but it wasn’t nearly the same. I learned to swim when another kid in the neighborhood taught me, but I was poor at it until I was in my early twenties. The first time I ever laid eyes on an ocean was Virginia Beach in 2011, when I had used a weekend in Advanced Individual Training (Army job training at Fort Eustis) to explore the coast. The next time was when I took myself to Kauai to backpack the Kalalau Trail in January of 2016, and I spent almost every day of that two-week trip either near, in, or on the water. It felt right, and in Iceland it gave me the same feeling.

Now, living in Fairbanks, Alaska, I don’t get to experience water so much. Rivers are abundant yet often treacherous and I’m not affluent in exploring them (one day I hope to), and most of the lakes have a combination of leeches and swimmers itch to discourage getting in the water. I miss the ocean so much and lately I’ve been thinking about trying to get closer to it. But I still want to be somewhere that experiences seasonal change, because I’m in love with winter, and that has mountains. I don’t do feel in extremely warm environments so it would also not have to be too hot in the summer. Friends have suggested California, and I’m thinking of looking into. All I know is I can’t live far away from water forever. This poem is that for me, a love poem of passion to be near the ocean, the urge to be under water scuba diving or even just floating at the surface, the want to try new things like surfing and sailing, and the wish to be on a boat surrounded by waves. One day, I like to think I’ll find myself there.

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