The ocean, on some days, lives in the bottom of my stomach. I wish I could cup it with my two hands and cast it away, maybe down the kitchen sink or the tub or the toilet. This heaviness is a reminder that healing takes time. I thought I was over that. Thought I had written it out, cried about it into a dozen overly soft tissues, truly rinsed it out my system. Thought I had named it all, but now I’m seeing that I’ve only been able to see one letter, one syllable at a time. I’m seeing that the words don’t work. The ocean is still here, untameable.
I walk out there sometimes when the tide is low. The ground is damp. I pick up fragments and fossils, line them up side by side like puzzle pieces to see if they fit, to see if maybe they’ll spell a name I might recognize. I have only consonants, though, harsh and pointless; faded memories and half stories. I turn back to head to the shore, resigned to accept the things I don’t understand.
Did you know writers of old didn’t have a word for the color of the ocean? Homer called it wine-colored. Perhaps he knew the sea borrows the hue of the sky and the sky if you know what I mean, is light is trapped at violet; broken, fractured and scattered across the atmosphere. The sea, then, borrows broken light and gives it back. Light travels this way, an endless, unnamed journey, broken refracted, scattered.
What color is the ocean all on her own?
I had not started to color my ocean until recently. Only after leaving the City and sitting for a dozen quiet mornings on a brown couch with a notebook. The quiet worked in the way only quiet can and things became more clear. I found words I needed while breathing on my yoga mat, memories while running the trails at the park, understanding while mixing flour and cinnamon and blueberries in a glass bowl, the kitchen flooded with early morning light.
Sometimes, the sky turns dark, my ocean pivots to violet, gathers around my ankles, and I look down to see my feet sinking in quicksand. It takes me a while to crawl out. I finally make it to shore and swear that I am done with all that thinking business. But I know and God knows that it is a lie. I will go back tomorrow. I will bend down and cup the ocean in two brave hands. I will stare at the things I cannot name and with time, I will give the ocean a color all her own.