The sea

Sea-Fever
BY
JOHN MASEFIELD

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking

My complacency is yet shamefully undiminished. And as unrepentant. I put it down to old age, like a well-worn oak table that is imperturbable but still tolerably useful in spite of its inveterate constancy, damage and tarsome quality. Like so many things I prefer to do or see, I return time and again to the theme of the sea. The sea, I have decided, is part of my blood. It is as natural to me and as uncontested as the prehistoric source from which we putatively derive. As I have so often quipped about a woman’s love for a man, “If she knows why she loves him she doesn’t!”  I can say without reserve that I haven’t any specific reason for adoring the sea; but whatever the reason it never fails to enliven me the instant I am close to it. Some say it is the smell in the air, the scent of saltiness; or perhaps it is the burgeoning sound of the surf.  For others it is the colour or the vastness. I will admit however that even approaching the sea activates within me an immediate sensitivity as though I were responding to a long-ago instinctive alert. Just as the passages of inland water insinuate the marshes mere meters above sea level, changing with the ebb and flow of the tides, I am likewise aroused by the nearness of the sea.

When we first landed on Hilton Head Island many years ago I was immediately smitten by the sea. It was not by any stretch the first time I had been close to the sea but its singularity is such that every occasion of encounter is for me novel and exhilarating whether the sea were at law school in Nova Scotia or on vacation on Cape Cod.

Monday, December 27, 2010
Boxing Day on the Beach

At last! Twenty-four hours after arriving on Hilton Head Island (South Carolina) and having completed the prerequisites to getting settled in, I was able to make my way along the grey cedar boardwalk from the hotel to the broad band of beach on the chilling Atlantic Ocean. As soon as my shoes hit the sand I was reminded of the striking softness of beach colours, taupe wet sand, blue-grey water, white and grey seagulls, all under the massive dome of an endless sky. I had forgotten how marvellous gold looks upon a beach background. Either way I looked, to the left or to the right, the beach was interminable, rounding distant corners beyond which I could no longer see. The vastness of the beach invited me to travel ever further, as far as the large American flag flapping in the distance and still more.

I have abandoned any attempt to disguise my continuing and undying fascination with the sea. Nor am I embarrassed to observe that I ornament the fascination with a wide variety of matters nautical, everything from a Ship’s Bell, sailing yachts, lighthouses, crashing ocean artistic tableaux and what I have no doubt is a purely poetic yearning to live along the coast.  My dismissive comment about coastal living is diluted by two features; one, we already do so for six months of the year; and, nothing will remove us from our beloved in-land, riparian Town of Mississippi Mills which to us is the envy of the universe!