05 November 2009

How the sea can set you free.

"A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it."
-George Moore

I have lived by the sea all my life, and never truly smelled the ocean. I knew it existed, the salty scent, but I never traveled anywhere that there wasn't an ocean. I never enjoyed the smell, because I didn't know any other scent.

I have been living away from the ocean for 2 1/2 months now. I live 9 hours north east of home. Before now, I had never even traveled 2 1/2 days without being near an ocean. Last weekend I paid a short visit to the coast. I went to Santa Barbara for Halloween (for those not familiar with Santa Barbara on Halloween, try picturing 100,000 intoxicated college students dressed in little more than cheap polyester costumes). I cannot tell you what happened Friday night, but I woke up Saturday morning on a bathroom floor. Most mornings when I wake up on a bathroom floor (believe me, it doesn't happen very often, but it happens) I try to curl myself into a tiny ball and pray the universe swallows me whole.

Instead of wishing death upon myself this particular very hung over morning, I simply walked out my friend's front door (which hangs over a cliff by the sea) and took a deep breath. That was all it took, a deep breath. I smelled the ocean for the first time, and it set me free.

Later that weekend I drove home to Redondo Beach. I walked the two minutes from my home to the ocean and sat on a bench for a long time. I came to the ocean, and took a deep breath, and another, and another. I got high off the sea. It was a magical and moving experience.

I miss home, yes I do. But I love living away from it for the sole purpose that if I had never gone away from the sea, I never would have been able to come back and smell it. It's a powerful thing, the ocean. It roars and carries you places. Let's just hope it carries you back home.


  1. Isn't the ocean just the best smell? I once went to Scottland and smelled the Isle of Skye: the ocean, Scottish heather, and peat fires. I wanted to make myself a blanket of that smell, wrap it around me, and never take it off.

  2. Cassie, This is so so true! I feel the same calling to the sea, and it's so cool that we share that!


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