Oceanography

Never an oceanographer; most often a photographer.

Never a photographer; mostly an oceanographer.

But you lie; sometimes you are a photographer.

And sometimes photography is oceanography.

Our teeth like eyes reflect light when they show.

Do you always just jump in like this?

Well, do you always just snap the shutter open shut like this?

His eyes glowed green.

This is why people hold hands, isn’t it.

The blue blanket flipped and roared.

I sure hope so–

We ducked under the foaming sheets,

Looking out for the place the sun sleeps.

Coping (even after spilling the coffee)

:
spills coffee (5 a.m.)

          No coffee, no party!

But at least you can never spill the sea

It greets you
, never leaves you           you’re the one who leaves it
Either bathes you in the best colors
Or chews you to pieces and spits you out on the sand

he tries out alliteration; tried out surfing for the first time (12 years old)

          Soaking with saltwater, I’m soaking with saltwater

Still tasting it on his lips even after peeling off the sealskin

cheese-pesto bagel with cream cheese (9 a.m. from brother Altair)
surprises you with his choice; an inside joke

          Wait, are you having a Strawberry bagel?
          I don’t discriminate
          …Against…Ginger bagels?
          Even though they do have no soul

Deciding you will gather up yourself in blankets since the sea kissed you cold–

          Artemis, you’re a really cool person

there declares Jupiter in the doorway (9:15 a.m. even though he knows you have a hard time taking compliments)

          …Thanks
          I hope you have a nice day today

exits Jupiter

later in the sunlight (11:10 a.m. barely casts your shadow on the dirt)

, spark-eyed Kairon single-handedly power massages the sore spot below your shoulder blade
Before resuming the walk to work

None of them know it’s the little things that help you cope

Oceanid Veins

When the sand touches her bare paws —

No, when the brisk water sinks into her skin,
and the briny soak begins —

Now she begins again
the forgetting
that she is
nothing
but Dust. 

Instead, she is Sea and Sky;
     hydrous Phoenix,
Gaia’s down blankets,
Strewn with Poseidon’s precious stones:

Green Fluorite at Dawn      Apatite at Noon
Lapis Lazuli at Sunset      Blue Tiger Eye at Dusk.

Here, she dwells      in the

boundless     vial     of tears,     submitting         

    every      despair     to the frames of

Nereid mustangs     to bear;     and through 

    the allotment     of hours     she steeps,     

   those sorrows     weigh light,     carried with ease

     by the      strong       arms         Of the Sea

“Welcome to the Land of Thunder,”
she says, and
“Welcome to the Teal Kaleidoscope,”
she says,
smiling like stars.

But if you lean close you’ll hear her whisper,
“Welcome to my diamond-flecked satin sheets–”
And if you lean closer you’ll hear her whisper,
“Are you ready to fall in love?”
–and watch her fly straight into the waves.

Altair’s Narrative: Every New World Begins With the Sea

It’s a balmy blue Sunday, and it’s one of those days that completely blows my notion of perfection into pieces. The saltwater forest surrounds me like a sleepy blanket, yet it is made of the purest form of energy. The swell rises high enough to stoke my splashing kinesis, yet its ebb gives way to the relaxation of midday, as I lay belly down on my board and watch the nose bob up and down with the seas’s murmuring. Except that’s not all I see.

In my past life, I would have reckoned this day as Ideal, amongst my various experiences with Ideal–but today the sun glances brightly and ripples the water into a new pattern. It is a new day. And she has grasped the visual axis, with her hands clinging to the edges of the board, resting her chin on the very nose as the water rises to her shoulders. Her dark brown hair is pulled back into a wet bun, wayward strings tickle at her cheekbones. Her smile matches the midnight shine in her eyes. Every word she speaks is creating another patch of space for the new world I’m finding myself in.

I had taught her how to catch waves, and now, returned to the water, she watches me hunt my own. She lets go and ducks underwater when I begin to paddle, pulling at the water’s surface. With the sudden push of momentum, I swing myself to stand, and I am in the glide. The seaglass face is disrupted into a sparkling foam, charging my veins electric. Soon plunged into a bank of waves, the world darkens to bring me back to reality, and I come up for air. This is the good kind of fire I’m breathing in. When I paddle back to her, she takes hold of the board again. Our conversation resumes from where we left off. And when I realize nothing could be better, I notice that this is my universe being baptized.

Saline (pt. X)

The first time I dropped in on a wave, really dropped in, I finally knew what it felt like to be in my rightful place in the world. The timing, paddling, pop-up, and steering had culminated into that ever-desired perfect glide. For a few seconds, I spread royal wings and flew. For a few seconds, the sky rolled back to show how it was made of something as beautiful as an abalone shell.

* *

The painting is titled “Theology,” I said. One hundred eyes passed over the piece, consuming its wild blue spilling and plunging. Now they awaited my defense and explanation. 

The correlation is simple, this idea of Sublimity in the character of God; One experienced as powerful, infinite, mighty, and ultimate. Yet when we experience this, we are somehow allowed to live, often leaving full of something like love or respect. The same experience is manifest when I am in the ocean, delighting in its power without it killing me–hence the “theology” of the crashing wave.

* *

It is an important moment in life when you realize that the calmest part of the ocean is the water directly beneath the wave. It is like finally realizing that to dance in the arms of another person, you have to stop struggling to lead your way. It is a moment of enlightenment in which you realize to keep from drowning, you must go underwater. No matter how the white water roars, if you duck below the plummets of the break, there you will find peace. Finally, you must learn to listen to the sea, for it will tell you when it’s safe to return to breathing again.

* *

Noah arrived by my side and with his classic bemused half-grin and complimentary fist-pound. Kick-ass were his first words. Others had offered similar congratulations. But he followed to say something more striking in clarity. Good job capturing the calm water right under the wave. A lot of people forget that part, he said. I looked back at the painting. The effect had been unintentional, but now that he pointed it out, I saw it. And I realized it was something I had known about all along.