The Sea. What kind of emotions does the sea or ocean make you feel? Do you remember the first time you went in the water? Had a wave crash on you? Felt the sand burn your feet? Do you feel more peaceful around water? Do you hate the beach? What’s the most interesting thing about the sea for you?
I almost drowned in the ocean when I was little and so I don’t like dark water.
But that didn’t mean I didn’t get in the water – just not the deep water part, if I could help it. I remember when I was learning how to windsurf and while I loved the feel of the wind in my hair and all that, and the way you can control the sail to go where you want to go, the moment I looked down, all my courage left me for I was literally in deep water and all I could hear was the Jaws theme playing inside my head (I’ve only gone scuba diving once, too, and the moment that theme song played in my head, I just about hyperventilated underwater). I still remember how my windsurfing instructor said, “you were doing so great but when you looked down, I knew it was all over.”
In the Philippines, where I grew up, the sea isn’t as rough as it is in Southern California. It’s calm and clear and I didn’t mind being in the water – as long as I could see the sand below – you know, just in case sharks make their way in shallow water and all that; and jelly fish, you gotta watch out for those little suckers, too.
But the first time I went into the water in Manhattan Beach, the surf just about knocked me out of my bikini and that was the end of that. Wouldn’t that have been a sight! Maybe I’ve waded in since then, but I’ve never been in the ocean water higher than my knees since 2000. And I don’t mind it.
And when I went to the east coast, spending three weeks on the shore in Ocean City, New Jersey, I’d never seen an ocean as gray as the Atlantic. But you’ll never see me in that water either. I say ocean water because I’ve gone river rafting and skinny dipping in the Nevadas – and as far as I know there are no sharks there.
And if I can help it, I can’t even rest easy seeing my little boy get in the water, even if it’s at Mother’s Beach where the water is supposed to be shallow (but it isn’t really, but then that’s me talking). Maybe it’s the near-drowning experience from when I was little, but it’s a nightmare for me just watching my little one wade in the water with no concern for anything but the joy of being in the water. And because he’s on the spectrum, it’s enough to send me into hysterics. So I leave the beach-going to Mr. M, who loves the sea and fishing and surfing and all the things I absolutely don’t like.
And after discovering the Sierra Nevadas in 2001, I discovered that I much prefer the sound of the wind rustling through the trees more than I do listening to the waves crashing on the shore. So as much as the sea is beautiful and all that, I’ll take the mountain any day.