Sunday, July 4, 2010

I Think I Am Part Mermaid

I don't know how else to explain the irresistible pull the ocean had on me tonight. I was happily in my polenta & shrimp-induced food calmness (not quite coma) and enjoying a glass of rose' when the next thing I knew I was checking the tide, the time of sunset, and in my bathing suit and on my bike on my way to the beach.

It's a tiny little thing, rocky shore and not much parking, but there were a few families settling in for the night with chairs and dinner. No one else in the water though, except me. It was the perfect temperature, just the tiniest bit choppy. I swam for a while. Then just floated, head back, arms out, seeing only the sky, hearing only the clinking of the rocks against each other from the waves. I wanted to nap there. I thought "if I try to do a triathlon, what if I don't want to leave the water? What if I just stay and swim and float and they wonder - who is that girl who won't get out of the water and on her bike?" and "High tide is tomorrow at 6am, can I come back then?"

When it was time to leave, my legs didn't know what to do. They had turned back into legs and were clumsy trying to leave the water, collapsing under me to leave me sitting on a rock for a bit, my brain trying to make the transition out of the water and back onto land. I made it, biked home, turned back into a human again.

Inland, By Edna St. Vincent Millay

People that build their houses inland,
People that buy a plot of ground
Shaped like a house, and build a house there,
Far from the sea-board, far from the sound

Of water sucking the hollow ledges,
Tons of water striking the shore,—
What do they long for, as I long for
One salt smell of the sea once more?

People the waves have not awakened,
Spanking the boats at the harbour's head,
What do they long for, as I long for,—
Starting up in my inland bed,

Beating the narrow walls, and finding
Neither a window nor a door,
Screaming to God for death by drowning,—
One salt taste of the sea once more?

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