It is I find quite remarkable how little removed one must be from the Ocean before one stops hearing the crashing of the rolling waves. For that reason alone I prefer to travel au bord de la mer when bicycling. Many walkers on the beach do the same. They too feel the magnetism of the sea. Besides there is an element of game-playing in skirting the incoming waves as they spread unpredictably upon the shore (a characteristic which I believe is more pronounced when the tide is coming in than otherwise though I can’t imagine why it should necessarily be so).
Being au bord de la mer ensures the magnification of the the quintessential features of Maritime living; viz., beach, water and sky. Anything more or less is a detraction or distraction. Perhaps a sailing ship on the horizon is acceptable but that’s about it. The Ocean experience is an unburdened constitution. To remind oneself of the depth of the encounter it is only necessary to go inland, the longer the more poignant the deprivation. Immediately the boundaries begin to close about you and the evaporation of your spirit ends. In the long-term the absence is an unidentifiable loss, causing one to feel that “something” is missing.
The huge horizon of the Ocean lures the mind into its limitless distance. And it transports away the weight of the world. Just as the tides scour the beach so too they rid the mind of its unevenness, leaving a surface clean and smooth. It helps that there is no object in sight, that you can imagine seeing England on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, that the infinite is strangely within our view, that life under the sea is camouflaged, sharks, porpoises, wrecks, whatever.
My favourite aspect of the Ocean au bord de la mer is the sky, the beautiful shades from light blue to azure and the fantastic cloud formations, heightened by the dome-like appearance of the canvass, impossible to see entirely at a glance. My perception of the sea is unquenchable. I am practically drawn into the water so intense is my passion to get close to it. But I must be content to remain au bord de la mer.