Several, maybe. There are so many wonderful places to be, it seems almost ungrateful to pick one, but I’m a fool for the ocean. The ocean never disappoints.
Growing up in a rural mountain area, I had never seen the ocean (except in pictures, of course) until I was well into my twenties. By then, even then, so many things that had been hyped in my childhood had turned out to be, if not, frauds, well, not as exciting as they were said to be. I’m not talking about sex or roller coasters here. Those are pretty reliable too. And I had not, nor have yet had occasion to see the Grand Canyon or the Taj Mahal. I’m talking about much smaller frauds here. Nonetheless, there was some fear. Suppose it was just a lot of water and so what? Among other things, I guess I mean, suppose I was not up to seeing it?
Well, you know why, don’t you? It’s all those pictures. When you’ve seen a million pictures of something it’s sometimes hard to really see it then. Some things — I’m being so tactful here — just look too much like their pictures. Yawn. And then there was the ocean. A definite Cortez moment (you know, silent on a peak etc.). The ocean was everything I’d hoped it would be.
I think it was the noise. One is never prepared, even by a lifetime of watching movies, for the actual noise the actual ocean makes as it throws itself, heedless. Second, of course, it’s much too big for a picture, so there you go. When you’re actually standing there looking into the face of the ocean, the first realization is that you can’t. The ocean is just too big to look at all at once. Part of it isn’t even visible, even though you can’t help knowing it’s there.
What really surprised me, what has really surprised me over a number of years, of decades, is this keeps on happening. The ocean continues to be too big to be boring, too noisy to be ignored, too beautiful. Some people maybe feel this way about standing on mountain tops. But the countryside, no matter how far the eagle’s eye can see, doesn’t move. Well, except if it does, that’s a very bad thing. The ocean threatens us and we love it. Well, I love it.
This last picture, is by Winslow Homer, and the thumbnail of the Maine Coast is from Wikimedia (many thanks). The other two are mine and were taken in Florida. But the remarks above apply to oceans everywhere.