I’d been planning some sort of sea related article for a while but never got round to it. But then my sister sent in some pictures for #fivephotofriday and it got me back to thinking about the sea and what it means to me. Her pictures are all included here and every single one of them is blue.
We grew up next to the sea. We learned to walk next to it, would play on its beaches and in rock pools as children. School projects were on fishing. As teenagers we’d build fires and later drink varying degrees of alcohol next to the sea. It was always there. We were always able to smell it, or hear its constant song and noise. You’d be able to tell the weather just by the sea’s voice. Apparently when I was very young I’d need to see the lighthouse shine round twice before I went to sleep.
I don’t like being in it but I like being on it. Boats are fine; from ferries to rowing boats, I don’t mind. I only felt a wee bit sea sick once and I think that was more to do with the fish supper I ate just before we left. But swimming is a big nope. I don’t like it, never have. I know this mostly comes from my terrible eyesight but also from the desire to not being eaten by a shark, which is still my greatest fear. And whether it’s an outdoor bathey in Scotland or a hotel pool in Benidorm I still don’t really like it.
When I first left home, I moved to a city with a famous port and lived within walking distance of the beach. The sea was always there, although not quite so close and I couldn’t see a lighthouse anymore. Sometimes after nights out we’d walk down to the harbour and look at the fishing boats. There was lots in those days; it’s empty now. We’d watch the sunrise from the sand dunes and WW2 bunkers, a beach fire dying slowly as the sun came up.
I really miss living next to the sea. I know it’s not there, you can feel it.
Possibly the most random place I have ever been to is Kazakhstan. Bear with me here, there is a point. My four friends and I were there for a reason, to play a Burns Supper ceilidh for all the ex-pat Scots working in the oil and related financial industries. We were there to do a job, with not a lot of spare time for individual adventures but this is not really about that trip. The point I want to make here is how for the first time I my life I felt landlocked. Now, I know there are lakes. Lake Balkhash looks huge and Issyk Kul in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan is close, but they are still both big lakes. The Caspian Sea, which is itself landlocked, is more than 1500 miles away and the Arabian Sea, which would lead to the Indian Ocean, is well over 2000.
In Kazakhstan, I was the furthest away from the sea I had ever been in my life, and I felt it. I knew the sea was a thousand miles away, my body told me. The temperature, I remember, was extremely low and was down to -20˚C while we were there. But it didn’t seem as cold as Scotland which was probably sitting at a few below 0 in January. This was due to there being absolutely no wind coming in from the sea. I was reminded of this today when sunny Easter Monday proved to have an icy wind blasting you from all sides, dropping the temperature by approximately fifty degrees. It was horrible, and not a pleasant experience to be socially distanced in the garden without full winter gear on.
In conclusion I wonder what it is that I miss about living next to the sea. Don’t expect an answer because I don’t know if there is one. Is it possibly the noise? I kind of like hearing something all the time. Perhaps this goes someway to explaining my fondness for noisy music. But if that was the case, surely every fishing town and village in the world would be home to the most amazing drone, noise and harsh black metal scenes.
I don’t believe it’s anything tangible. I’m going to throw a Charles Manson quote out here, mostly because I’ve never had the opportunity, but also because it kind of illustrates my point.
“You can try to prove that Columbus sailed on an ocean, but it’s not the same ocean, it’s a different ocean, it’s a different world.”
The sea is not the same as it was before, it’s never the same, constantly evolving and changing. The seas, the oceans, the rivers share the same substance, the same life, the same evolution and the same creation story but also the same future, to be reused and to be recycled and re-funnelled and eventually recreated.
Be like water.
Maybe I need to move.
Currently listening to: Rammellzee by Flee Lord and DJ Muggs.