You know what’s weird?
I’m an ocean person. I’m an ocean person in the die-hard, beach chairs in my car long past the point of sensibility, swimming in September seems like a great idea, sigh of relief when my toes hit a beach kind of way. If I somehow found a career that let me spend the rest of my life being around the water, it would be a perfect match. I’d sign on the dotted line for that, no questions asked. I revel in waves and salt and dunes. My favorite smell is found when you bury your face in a towel after a long day: a combination of ocean, sunscreen, and the way it smells when fabric has been dried by the sun. So far, I have yet to reveal the weird part of this scenario.
Here it is: I date a mountain person. As in, my boyfriend is someone who describes his dream vacation home as being a beautiful cabin up north. He likes fresh powder and sunsets seen through pine-dotted peaks. Being a few yards away from a moose in Jackson Hole this December made his day. Seeing his breath swirl into the air in a spiral of chilly fog probably brings a smile to his face, and he doesn’t wear a jacket outside as often as he should.
If a person’s favorite habitat were a measure of their compatibility with another, it would seem like we might be utterly doomed. In my idealistic mind, I always pictured myself with a fellow ocean lover, someone whose stomach flipped over a beautiful sunset/waves picture the way mine does. However, I’ve come to accept that maybe it’s better this way, with us each having a unique preference. He teaches me to love more than I did previously. He challenges me to appreciate different kinds of beauty. Together, we both love the ocean and the mountains and each other. And that’s just perfect.
It is true there is an ebb and flow, but the sea remains the sea.
--Vincent van Gogh
Second Beach | Middletown, RI
screams and swells.
If the ocean is cooperative, there’s something especially cathartic about being slammed by huge waves when you need to expel some negative energy and get back to vibrating on a more pleasant frequency. There’s no working around a wave - you either have to swim under it, try to jump over it, or choose to let it carry you. When life presents you with situations where all you can do is wait or do nothing at all, it’s nice sometimes to have a force bigger and stronger than you provide you with a channel for what you’re feeling. I wish I was still small enough for boogie boarding to be fun (in retrospect, transitioning into surfing would have been a natural choice, don’t know why that didn’t occur to me around age 13) because I could spend hours in the water waiting for perfect waves to keep rolling towards me.
I like to funnel energy into things. At school, where there are nice paths lit up at night and constantly changing playlists of music with bass, running does the trick. Other times, there’s nothing better than spilling it on to six or eight pages in a rambling, self-indulgent stream of consciousness and complaint, ending on a brighter note with lists of the things I’m grateful to have in my life. Recently I’ve been on this Kundalini yoga kick and we did an exercise which combined a pose with screaming as much as we wanted to, letting out whatever we were carrying with us. Between the waves and the shouting, it’s been a very relaxing transition back to Rhode Island.
I swear I’ll stop complaining.
Any gent who has dated me can assure you that I’m by no means low-maintenance. I’m pretty realistic about the fact that I like nice things and certainly can’t claim to have inexpensive tastes. As I’m learning this summer though, what apparently really makes me happy has more to do with where I am and more specifically my proximity to the ocean.