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22 March 2007

The Curse Is Upon Me...

. . .yet again. I truly believe that some people are water-dwellers and others are not. In tonight's whimsical state of mind, I feel salt-water in my veins,crying out for the sea.  Edna St. Vincent Millay proves that I'm not alone in this feeling. But how does it happen? Why do some feel an affinity for the ocean that stays with them all their lives? Who knows how it really happens. Is it about growing up near water?  I didn't really grow up near water. I've spent most of my life living on the very outskirts of the Bay Area.
Perhaps the craving for salt air is the result of an earlier imprint. Birth? I was born in the Phillipines, an entire nation of islands. DNA? Perhaps the memory of being lulled by the rock of a boat or by crashing waves is genetic. My grandmother's were Island people from as far back as we know. Deeper? The Irish and Scots blood flowing like a current from both sides of the family tree? Were our other ancestors from a coastal or island region of Africa?

Who know's? It's all mystery. And one day I'll solve it. Until then, it's enough not to be alone in the feeling. Edna has her finger on my pulse tonight:

SEARCHING my heart for its true sorrow,
  This is the thing I find to be:
That I am weary of words and people,
  Sick of the city, wanting the sea;
Wanting the sticky, salty sweetness         5
  Of the strong wind and shattered spray,
Wanting the loud sound and the soft sound
  Of the big surf that breaks all day.
Always before about my dooryard,
  Marking the reach of the winter sea,         10
Rooted in sand and dragging driftwood,
  Straggled the purple wild sweet pea.
Always I climbed the wave at morning,
  Shook the sand from my shoes at night,
That now am caught beneath big buildings,         15
  Stricken with noise, confused with light.
If I could hear the green piles groaning.
  Under the windy, wooden piers,
See once again the bobbing barrels,
  And the black sticks that fence the weirs;         20
If I could see the weedy mussels
  Crusting the wrecked and rotting hulls,
Hear once again the hungry crying
  Overhead, of the wheeling gulls;
Feel once again the shanty straining         25
  Under the turning of the tide,
Fear once again the rising freshet,
  Dread the bell in the fog outside,
I should be happy!¿that was happy
  All day long on the coast of Maine.         30
I have a need to hold and handle
  Shells and anchors and ships again.
I should be happy, that am happy.
  Never at all since I came here.
I am too long away from water;         35
  I have a need of water near.

Ainslee¿s Magazine

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