Oceans away, oceans between, oceans within

I fell in love with the ocean about the time that I first lost something to it.

Those plastic dinosaurs were glow-in-the-dark and the coolest toys in the entire world. I must have thrown a monster of a fit to get my mom to bring them with us to the beach, because they were translucent and small, and since I have been known to lose exuberantly colored objects bigger than my body, those dinosaurs were doomed to disappear as surely as their live counterparts were when the asteroid hit Earth’s stratosphere.

***

Someone, somewhere once told me that all blondes are descended from Vikings. Perhaps that is why I cherish a secret desire to be given a Viking funeral when I die, surrounded by flowers as the boat bursts into flames impressively around me. But more likely, I am attracted to the ritual because it represents my perception of death: the extinguishing of a flame followed by perpetual sinking into the depths of the unknown. This is also why the ocean tugs at me as inexorably as the moon tugs at the tides: the mystery of the unknown; the untouchable. To me, going to the depths of the ocean to find my missing dinosaurs is as unreachable and elusive as time traveling to see live dinosaurs.

***

In an episode of Doctor Who, a dinosaur hitches a ride to the present on the space-time traveler’s bigger-on-the-inside blue Police box and stomps around wreaking havoc in England. Space intrigues me like little else; unimaginably vast and wholly unknown, it is one of the final frontiers of mankind. Space is a mystery unsolved by humans in a way that many of Earth’s mysteries seem not to be anymore. But since I don’t want to meander around vast expanses of nothingness in clunky suits eating freeze-dried X, dehydrated Y, and cubed Z, I have focused most of my zeal for discovery on the ocean.

***

There is nothing quite like spending a night on a sailboat. I have been lucky enough to grow up on Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island with a dad whose “man cave” is his boat. Enough has been written about the smell of salt or the feel of wind on your face for you to get the idea that sailing is pretty fantastic and a lot of people like it. But for me, my love for the ocean and the secrets it held within was hauled out of the murky depths along with a bucket of muddy crabs. In other words,

I fell in love with the ocean about the time I first found something in it.

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