Fascination with the Sea

I have always loved the ocean. The boom of crashing waves; the silence of low tide; the rhythms of swells. The smell of salt air and rockweed. The cries of herring gulls and laughing gulls. The changing colors of the waters.

I once sat on ledges at Pemaquid for hours, listening to the sea, invisible to me because the fog was so dense.

The first time my daughter Ali saw the ocean. She was 4.

I love the colors of sunrises and sunsets reflected on the waters. I love the rhythms of waves that soothed and challenged people thousands of year ago, and, if our world continues as it is, will continue to do so for generations to come. We cannot outlive the sea. In winter, I love the glint of shattered ice on the shore, and ice floes on rivers.

Maine also has deep woods, large and small lakes, and (sometimes intimidating; sometimes seductive) mountains. Every year they attract thousands of people. But the part of Maine I love best is the coast. My home is not on the ocean, but on one of Maine’s many tidal rivers, which also ebb and flow; surge and retreat. The waters constantly move and change while always, somehow, surviving, and remaining the same.

Waters offered pathways in the past, when there were few roads, and people traveled in boats. Today people still work on the waters, and travel on them. People choose ocean travel because it is an escape to a world far from the lives many of us live today. A return to an element that has been part of man’s history for eons.

Grandchildren Samantha & Vanessa, in Maine, about 10 years ago

The sea sometimes offers peace, despite, or perhaps because of, its hidden currents and depths. It offers sustenance — fish, lobsters, crabs, oysters, mussels, clams, scallops, and a variety of seaweeds.

The sea has always challenged us. Waves surge and fall. They crest, and their spray whitens the darkness of deeper waves. Currents can be deadly. Storms turn ripples into waves and waves into crashing towers of water that contest the strength of the land. Early maps picture dragons at the horizons. Who knew what might lie beyond our visible world? Only the sea.

I remember my awe when, as a child, I stood in pine woods, high above rocks I’d explored and loved, and felt the spray from hurricane waters that covered those rocks and, with every crashing wave, moved the sea ever closer to where I stood.

Even in winter – the view from my home.

Today I sit at my desk and look out at a river twelve miles from the ocean, but still moved by winds and waves affecting the North Atlantic. For years my favorite escape was to row my skiff, away from land and its challenges, close to herons and gulls. I loved the silence. The pull of the water on my oars. The perpetual challenge of changing tides and winds.

I don’t row anymore; my skiff is overturned, waiting, next to my barn. I miss being out on the water.

But the river and the ocean are still there, bringing constancy to my life.

They’re a large part of why I love living in Maine.

About Lea Wait

Maine mystery author Lea Wait writes the Mainely Needlepoint series and the Shadows Antique Print series and historical novels for ages 8 and up set in 19th century Maine. Married to artist Bob Thomas, she loves reading, writing (of course!), speaking to people of all ages about writing, drinking champagne, walking along the coast of Maine, and rowing her small skiff. She invites you to friend her on Facebook and Goodreads.
This entry was posted in Lea's Posts. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Fascination with the Sea

  1. Lea: Very lyrical rendition of your love for the ocean. I love it too, but can’t sleep with the surf coming and going. I keep waiting for the next wave. A river is a different thing. And here on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe (deepest lake next to Crater Lake in USA) I am several hundred feet above the 62,000 level of the lake and about a mile away. I see the lake through giant trees. And I can tell the weather by where there are whitecaps, or smooth water, and I watch the summer visitors’ boats and friends kayaks. Last week I couldn’t see the other end of the lake (21 miles away) because of smoke from the giant forest fire near Yosemite Park, a hundred miles to the south. Water is healing, and when I hike down to the lake with friends, that’s a refreshing experience.

    • Lea Wait says:

      Water is special to so many people — in so many different ways. One of my favorite quotations is from Isak Dinesen’s Out of Africa (“The cure for everything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea.”)

  2. John R. Clark says:

    Amen.

  3. Lea – since I’m a marine ecologist and my series features an oceanographer, sea kayaks, and salty critters, I loved your post! The Maine coast feeds our souls.

  4. Karla says:

    Pure poetry.

  5. Galen Hillers says:

    Beautiful. It is exactly how I feel. My fathers family is from Maine. I go down east every year to visit my family. My favorite place is Two Lights state park. I could sit for hours on the rocks watching the ocean. I never get tire of it. My visits feed my soul.

  6. Peg Reeves says:

    Really enjoy your books find them so informative on prints and needlework with a little murder thrown in.

  7. Water, especially the smell of water, whether sweet, brackish, or straight from an ocean breeze, always balances my soul and makes me feel at peace.

  8. Beth Clark says:

    I was born in Beverly Massachusetts and lived in Manchester for the first six years of my life. My first memories are of going to Singing Beach and splashing in the waves. Although I love any body of water, there is something sacred about the ocean. John and I can walk on the beach for hours and never get bored. I love all you pictures but especially the first one of Ali. John told me this am, “You’ll like Lea’s post today.” He was right!

  9. Germaine says:

    Just beautiful. My heart has always belonged to the ocean and the mountains. The photos are beautiful. I love everything about the ocean, so peaceful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *