A Natural State
I have always been a fan of lakes. The stillness of a lake, particularly at sunrise, is immaculate. Such a body at rest displays water in its natural state. I am willing to disturb it for a swim, if I can keep my feet out of the silt and muck that make up the lake’s floor. In fact, when I look out over an undisturbed lake, I prefer not to think at all about what waits far below its surface; such thoughts only spoil what the lake’s surface has to offer. It is hard to remember that nothing but a little salt and size differentiates the ocean from the lake. The ocean is all movement. The ocean is all tides and waves. The ocean houses many a mysterious creature as well, I know, creatures dwelling beyond the reach of the strongest sunlight. We discover such creatures only through our relentless curiosity and ingenuity. The eagle will never hunt even the smallest halibut.
As mighty and mysterious as it is, the ocean is misleading. The waves that crush ocean liners are reflexes from a distant shrug of some continent’s restless shoulder or the tireless urgency of the wind. The ocean itself has no say in the matter; it is a servant, conforming and abiding by what holds it or moves through and above it.
I love the drama of an ocean, I love the hush and hiss of the surf, but all that water is merely looking for the same state of rest you would find in a glass of tap water. Which is why I suppose I prefer a lake. I have nothing against drama; all life is full of it. But in the end all drama is the process of a body in search of rest. Even the lake’s silt, when disturbed, will settle by and by back into its filthy bed.
One can come to mistake the drama itself for the destination. Now the waves become your enemy, and you are tasked with the impossible: defeating something that is not aligned deliberately against you. All victory and loss will be a story you tell yourself that is no more real than mermaids.
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