The first step from the beach into the ocean always gives me goosebumps.
There’s always a deep tug in my heart, a longing so primal it could be a childhood memory or a feeling on its own, the need to be by the water. To think of it, imagine the sound of the waves, remember threading it with my fingers and toes – the ocean had always been a constant in my life, the inevitability of the mounds of water at the end of the street more immutable than anything else I’d known.
Then it became a symbol, of return, of safe harbor, what gets me through each cold winter and fills my thoughts of the future with anticipation. “This winter is miserable but then I get to go home to the beach”. Until I do not actually go home to the beach and then I’m lost, and sad, and returning constantly to the thought of why did I leave why did I leave why did I leave.
Today, I remembered. I saw clearly. As I stood in what felt like the middle of the ocean, imagining to myself I was perfectly centered between South America and Africa, paddling furiously as I thought to myself again this is where I truly really like to be, it hit me: the unhappy detached feeling is because I haven’t figured out to just bring the ocean with me.
Home is in the cup of water that I drink, the water of the rivers in North America I swim in, the clouds I fly through, the water that runs through my body. The port of Santos is tattooed on my foot and I remember the exact texture of the sand on the beach. I feel it in other places. The taste of the water, too. I don’t have to look for home when I carry it within me.
“It’s not a big thing, but I guess it’s true–big things are often just small things that are noticed.”