By: Sarah De La Rosa
In a world where everyone tells you who to be and how to live, it’s easy to feel frozen in time. We become afraid to make the mistakes of generations before us and to live freely in the generation that keeps us stagnant. On Facebook we are fed the lives of others; it becomes harder to be different, to live in the moment, when we only worry about pictures that freeze us in time. Like many of you, I stay unmoved. Like putrid water, I grow with fungus and the mud settles, and I am covered in everyone else’s lives.
I find it hard to move on paper sometimes, I stay still like stagnant water. My fingers ache but I do not move them, as it will only hurt more. What if I type the wrong word, choose the wrong resistance? What if my water runs dry before I can get to the ocean? And when I get there what kind of water will I be?
So I stay stagnant. Writing is pain. It reminds us how our mind is bleeding information. We wonder if most of that information will ever find a voice.
The ocean can never stay stagnant. The ocean breeds life, and all life forms need the ocean. Is that why when we walk next to the shore we feel at home? Is that why we feel so at peace hearing the water and the waves, being closer to all that movement at the edge of no-mans land?
I remember how I felt as a child near the ocean. My recollection is whimsical and nostalgic. It is daytime, there is a sun-kissed warmth on my face; the musical sounds of the tide whisper secrets I want to know more about. The darkness of the ocean intrigues me; I look to the horizon and talk to my fears, hoping to meet them halfway one day. My father comes with me into the water; he dunks me all the way and pulls me back out. I trust that he is more powerful than the ocean. The water tingles my pores and tangles my hair, with its salty yet purifying seawater.
On shore, I enjoy building castles with the sand. I love to dig. I want to dig myself into the curious beads; I want to cover myself. I move with the sensations through my fingertips wishing to feel it more and more. I watch small crabs move along immanent holes. I see dead fish on the brown side of shore and some blackened ballooned seaweed washed up. I run over to the seaweed and poke it. The ocean smells so much like death sometimes. My mother yells at me to come back to the white sand.
“Don’t play with that honey,” she says. This is the side of the shore people stay away from. It reminds them how easily something can be taken away.
I am a teenager now. I want to defy people. I can’t sit still. The ocean is the only place that understands me. I walk on the shore and let my toes melt into the sludge of sand and mud, I feel the prickles of the small beaded rocks crunch, the cold water moves up to shore, waves bend and fizzle, splash and recoil, back and again, constant and alive. There is nothing more sad than stagnant water. Movement is life. And I breathe with the ocean. And I hum with the waves. And I move with the salt water. This is my home.
I am an adult now. I don’t like to get sand near me. It’s hard to get out of your clothes and wet sand sticks to my skin and makes me itch with discomfort. I hardly ever put my feet in the water anymore. Walking on the beach takes movement. I find it hard to move these days. I take off my shoes. Something feels too familiar to me. The eagerness of the sun to play frightens me. If I feel a moment of peace, will I forget what it is like to be so careful? There is nothing for me at the beach anymore I begin to think. Only someone’s dreams. Someone I used to know. But they are buried somewhere in the sand beneath my feet.
I watch the waves in their usual wonder and wish I could be taken away with them. Knowing one day I will be. The ocean again whispers secrets to me that I know are lies. It beckons me to play. I take a breath and run out into the sea, the water begins cooling my tired, calloused toes. I want to burry myself in the water and let it consume me for a moment. But the water is cold, and I am afraid of getting wet. I hesitate now, only halfway immersed. I come back to the shore and drag my toes in the wet sludge. I sit on the beach and watch the water fizzle and heave, sometimes tickling my toes.
All that movement still fascinates me. A living body of water is one that has many waves, ripples, twist and turns, bursts and recoils against edged rocks and swirling storms. Like the ocean, I have had many storms in my life. Ones that have bent and smashed me against rocks and threw me far from home.
For a long while now I have been stagnant, resting beside a safe shore. It is comforting. The sun is warm, and there is little life here to harm me. But, like many of you, I dream of a more distant land. The water that was once crystalized and clear is now becoming more murky, but I can't let it stay this way.
It’s interesting how clear water cleanses itself through movement, removing itself of all impurities. All that pain, that struggle, is in fact doing something very important.
We cannot let ourselves stay stagnant. Stagnant water only breeds death.
Like the Elton John song, I want to move like a tiny dancer. I am moving in this world because it is moving and even if I stay still it will move without me.
It feels good to be moved. By music. By art. By love. By the wind and especially by the ocean. Let something take us away without us trying. Let us be moved! Now that something, isn’t it?