I met my first love in the Netherlands. I was so young I don’t even remember when or how or if it was love at first sight. But then again, none of this matters.
We spent sunny days, lazy afternoons and when the weather wasn’t our friend, it didn’t matter either.
I was in love on gray days and during stormy nights and my love seemed unconditional. I felt better as soon as I was close, a calming presence mixed with a tingle of excitement.
Today, so many years later I am glad that I got it right at least once with that thing called love.
Dear ocean, you were my first love and you may just be my last.
From the moment when I took my first tentative steps, made tiny jumps over what my mother called Monchhichi waves (because they were so small) to shrieking in utter delight when the bigger ones caught me, soaked my rolled up jeans and eventually numbed my toes it was instant and I knew it would last.
Eventually, I outgrew the Monchhichi waves but I didn’t outgrow my love. I seemed to choose cities that were close to the water, but maybe it was the ocean who chose me, who lured me closer and I just followed. Again, it didn’t matter. As long as I had a salt on my skin, could hear the scream of a seagull and maybe even hear a wave or two crash. I came to love the smell of mildew, of wetness and it made me feel home and comforted wherever I traveled in the world.
I will not forget the first time I went diving. Where did Ariel go wrong to give up this amazing world? How big could a mortal love be to give up the ocean? To forgo the weightlessness, the special light or lack thereof on the bottom of the ocean, the tranquility, the fluidity, and Nemo? Being in the ocean, submerged in water, surrounded by it, held – I don’t think I would ever give this up without a fight.
They say that saltwater cures all wounds. Sweat, tears or the sea. For me, it was always the sea first and foremost. A presence that regardless of whether it is stormy and cold (hello, Atlantic, I am looking at you and starting to shiver) or calm and bathtub-like makes me feel better.
Put me by the ocean and I am reminded that the world is bigger than me and my problems. I start to breathe calmer and somehow know that I can go on. But put me underwater and I truly come to life. Surrounded by my love, Ariel or not.
Today is World Oceans Day which is a day of ocean celebration and collaboration for a better future. Being in the ocean pretty much every day reminds me constantly how fortunate I am and how much I love what the ocean gives me. Sometimes when I look around underwater though it also reminds me that it is due time to give back – the negative impact humans have had on our oceans is omnipresent even in the most paradisiacal locations. I absolutely love the Jacques Cousteau quote that should remind all of us that it is never about conquering but about preserving and protecting so future generations, heck me when I am old and wrinkly can still enjoy the ocean. If we don’t do that, there will be no winners, no conquerors at all.
My mother says that Mother’s Day is stupid because every day should be Mother’s Day. I agree with the sentiment and with that, I say World Oceans Day is stupid because every day should be World Oceans Day. And be it just for the very selfish reason that I want to spend so much more time with my love.
Are you celebrating World Oceans Day today or any other day?