WE LIVE, M. and I, about ten feet from the water. When there is a storm and the wind pushes toward us from the southeast we live about a foot from the water. It sings all day long and all night as well, never the same music. Wind, temperature, where the tide is, how the moon is tugging or shoving—each of these makes a difference. The tide going out sounds harsher than the voice of its rising, what seems like a disinclination to leave growls in it, with the sound of dark, thick-stringed instruments. Coming in, it is more playful. Every day my early morning walk along the water grants me a second waking. My feet are nimble, now my ears wake, and give thanks for the ocean’s song. This enormity, this cauldron of changing greens and blues, is the great palace of the earth. Everything is in it—monsters, devils, jewels, swimming angels, soft-eyed mammals that unhesitatingly exchange looks with us as we stand on the shore; also, sunk with some ship or during off-loading, artifacts of past decades or centuries; also the outpourings of fire under water, the lava trails; and kelp fields, coral shelves, and so many other secrets—the remembered and faithfully repeated recitations of the whales, the language of dolphins—and the multitude itself, the numbers and the kinds of shark, seal, worm, vegetations, and fish: cod, haddock, swordfish, hake, also the lavender sculpin, the chisel-mouth, the goldeye, the puffer, the tripletail, the stargazing minnow. How can we not know that, already, we live in paradise?
~ Mary Oliver, Long Life: Essays and Other Writings
Credits: Photograph – Ridiculously Photogenic Chewbacca