Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Womb, The Sea

She was only a year old. Drawn to the surf like a baby turtle after hatching in the sand, she waddled into the cold water as if it were her natural habitat. I wasn't the only person who stopped to watch her affinity. Her smile, her laughter and lack of fear were a marvel. She rolled in the cold water, chased after the retreating tide, and when it rose and surprised her she shivered with laughter.

"She's always been like this, " her mother tells me.

What is this little girl destined to become? The next Jacque Cousteau? A campion surfer? A Rachel Carson for the sea?

I have seen the opposite while accumulating mileage on the beach. I've watched parents hold their squealing children over the smashing waves, watched them lift the child a second before the sea rushed in to grab that child.

 I was recently captivated by a father sitting in the sand above the water line with his daughter in his lap. He held her securely and as the water lapped at his legs, he filled his hand with water and gently patted his daughter's legs. He took great care in introducing her to a great wonder of nature. She was calm and curious. I imagine the ocean will have a life long pull.

I do not remember how I was introduced to the sea. I believe I was  an older child as I seem to remember my first captivating glimpse in the back seat with my head out of the window, the wind blowing my hair, focused on what I saw as the most beautiful scene ever. We pulled into the parking lot of the Surf and Sand, and I bolted to get closer. It was love at first sight, smell and feel, and forever after, I am drawn to the sea.

So imagine my delight when yesterday, Mandi walked towards the sea with Margo in her arms.

"We're going to take her in," she said, and I was to witness my granddaughter's first encounter with the sea--as a two month old. Ceremoniously, Mandi and her husband unwrapped Margo.

I sometimes wonder if I love the water so much because of our embryonic state. We all start in a warm, salt water environment. We float, we swish around and considering how tiny we start out, perhaps all the motions feel like waves. We are swaddled by that salty environment and develop a love for the oldest sound in the universe: iambic pentameter, the rhythm of poetry, the beat of our mothers' hearts...

Mandi held Margo tight and close to her heart.

She waded in slowly, she lifted herself over the tiny waves, and I held my emotional breath. Will Margo love the sea?

Her eyes wide with wonderment, she was lowered into the water; she remained calm and quiet, observant,--and after her first twenty minutes back in the womb of the sea, she fell asleep.