The Beach is My Dream, the Ocean…My Nightmare

I love the beach. Perhaps you follow me on Instagram. If you don’t…come on over: @nerdinthesand. But if you do then you know without a shadow of a doubt just how deep my love for the beach runs. It is a physical representation of the happiest place I could ever imagine being.
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I feel calm when I’m at the beach. I feel like I’m home out there. I feel like I know myself so clearly and that if I just reach out I could probably touch the hand of God, like in Michelangelo’s painting in the Sistine Chapel. I don’t feel like a hurricane when I’m at the beach. I feel like a palm tree, deeply rooted and able to stand the harsh hurricane winds. My soul says, “Do your worst for you can’t touch me out here.”
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Everywhere else I’m the hurricane and the surrounding trees have to survive me. But here is where I am truly what I was made to be. A
song sung on the breeze. A shadow on the sand. Perhaps that’s why being away from it for 8 long years was just too long for my soul and eventually the shore had no choice but to call me back.

I do not feel the same way about the ocean. The ocean scares me. Deeply, down to my toes.

My mom likes to watch Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. Every July I start to hear about things like Goblin Sharks and Vampire Squids and Fangtooth Fish and Giant Tube Worms and all manner of creatures that sound better suited for a horror film than for the ocean. A place I think we truly don’t belong. Though I don’t at all feel that way about space….interesting.

If Atlantis were a real place and it was up to me to search the depths of the ocean just to find it, then it would stay lost forever.

On my recent road trip up to New York with my brother we drove through Delaware. This took us across the scariest stretch of road I’ve ever been on. The Lucius J. Kellam Jr Bridge – Tunnel. It’s series of bridges and tunnels that stretch over an expanse of the ocean itself. Not a bay or a lake or a gulf or a stream, but the edges of the ocean. Look left and you can just make out a distant horizon that must be the shoreline, but look right and you are faced with the expansive stretch of deep blue sea with no end in sight.

I thought for sure that while we crossed it, some catastrophe would hit. Maybe we’d get stuck in that tunnel for hours on end only to be engulfed in the very ocean the tunnel was supposed to protect us from. Or we’d get stuck on the bridge in traffic and a Sharknado would come sweep us away into the ocean where the rest of the sharks were lurking.

I was never afraid of the ocean as a child. It’s only in adulthood when the overactive fears of our imagination are given a voice. As children we have those same fears, but the monster under the bed is just a shadow and shark attacks are less likely to happen than car accidents and lightning never hits the same place twice.

Adults know that shadows only exist where there is a sliver of light. We know that sharks are a reality and of course lightning can hit the same spot twice, it’s not like it has memory or anything.
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The beach is my dream and the ocean, my nightmare. How funny that the two should be so intertwined for I could never have the dream without the nightmare. For one to exist, the other has to as well! The irony is not lost on my. Or rather God’s imminent sense of humor. He’s constantly laughing at my fears, the way a loving father laughs at a child who’s too scared to look under the bed. “Sweetheart, there’s nothing under there. Don’t you trust me? Have I ever let you down?”
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