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Like The Waves Essay, Research Paper
Like the Waves
I was born high on a mountaintop, so close to the sky the clouds seemed to be near enough to touch. As a child, my knees were covered with the red earth, my face scratched by the tree branches, and my hands covered with the yellow pollen of wildflowers. In the days, I would climb up the sturdy pine trees, as high as I could go, and let the warm afternoon sun bake my face and shoulders. At night I sat cross-legged on the front porch praying for a lightening storm, thunder clapped in the distance and the brilliant light filled the night sky. In those days, Zeus seemed in constant rage, and the lightening was never ending. I was not scared of the violence of the storms. Instead, I was filled with excitement and awe.
My family home sat on five acres between the river and the mountain. Often my family made trips to the river. My brother and I would jump in the crisp cool water and swim for hours. The smell of hot dogs my dad was grilling filled the air. My mother sat quietly by the bank reading a book, all the time keeping a watchful eye on my brother and I.
The river, which wasn t really a river at all but a creek, was a constant in my childhood. I would walk for miles on the banks or glide skipping rocks across its surface. Whenever anyone talked about great bodies of water, my mind would drift back to this small winding creek. It was the only body of water I had seen, so I was stunned to learn something as immense and endless as the ocean existed.
I first learned of the ocean from my first grade teacher Mrs. Sweet. Mrs. Sweet was teaching the class about natural ecosystems. I puzzled over exactly what an ecosystem was. It almost sounded like one of the company s my dad frivolously invested his money into, hoping for a good return. I closed my eyes and pictured the sea in a plastic bottle. Mrs. Sweet explained that the sea was a habitat for hundreds of animals. She talked about a magical world filled with dolphins, jellyfish, and small plants called plankton. She said that the sea went on for miles. In some places you couldn t touch the bottom. Not even by holding your breath and diving. I was enthralled. My imagination ran wild with each new detail, dolphins gliding gracefully over the surface, mermaids playing in the waves, sharks hungrily searching for food. I could not wait to see this enchanted place for myself.
As soon as school ended I sprinted home from school with my backpack flailing behind me. My teacher s words swirled around my head making me dizzy. Still I ran faster and with purpose, I had to ask my mom if the ocean truly existed. Every step of the way, I prayed my mom would be home. I turned the corner and saw the blue two story house jutting through the pine trees. I stopped for an instant to catch my breath and felt the butterflies swirl in my stomach. Slowly, I walked towards the front porch. I threw open the solid oak door, startling my mother. Mommy have you ever seen the ocean? I asked breathlessly. My mother confirmed all Mrs. Sweet had told me. She even added to the thrill by telling me of coral reefs, seaweed, and sharks. I want to go. Please take me! I screamed with excitement. I knew the answer before my mom even opened her mouth. My head fell against my chest and the warm tears started to choke at my eyes.
Honey, you know I can t take you. I have two jobs just to put food in your mouth. I barely have time to spend on myself, let alone free time to spend carting you around the beach. My mom hissed, obviously annoyed that I had forgotten her time constraints. I sulked away, upset.
Over the next few months I became obsessed with the ocean. I wanted to know everything there was. I read about the huge jaws of great white sharks, killer wale s lunch preferences, and jelly fish, which had no brain or mouths. The librarian who wore wire-rimmed glasses and hair pulled back into a tight bun, now called me by name. She helped me scour the aisles for books, pulling the hard to reach ones off the shelf for me. I soon became an expert on all things related to the ocean.
During this time I also pestered my mother at every opportunity. I begged, pleaded and whined for her to take me to the ocean. Finally my mother gave in to my grumbling and decided to take me to the ocean.
My family piled into our blue Honda station wagon, dad driving, mom in the passenger seat and my brother and I in the back. The drive, long though it was, sped by. I barely noticed as the trees began to thin and the mountains faded in the distance. All I could think about was seeing the crystal clear water, jumping dolphins, and mermaids playing.
Suddenly, I felt a sharp jab in the ribs, catapulting me out of my fantasy world. Ow! I screamed in pain as my brother chuckled in delight. Mom, Jesse is hitting me. I whined.
If you two can not stop it I will turn this car around at once. My dad bellowed in a half serious voice. I knew he would not dare turn the car around, but the threat echoed in my mind. The thought of coming this far and not reaching the destination I so desired was almost too much to handle.
No, Dad. I promise to be good. I managed to choke out as the hot tears welled up in my eyes. My dad did not respond, but the car continued on its route.
Then, as if by magic, the hills seemed to part. A puzzling smell, like a mixture of salt and grass, clinged to my nose. I looked at the sky, which had grown to a massive size, and noticed it was slowly moving, as if to the beat of a distant drum. Look, the sky is moving. I whispered in awe of the moment.
My mom chuckled, That s not the sky silly. That is the ocean. I watched as the ocean swayed back and forth, moving to the beat of a distant drum. It was not how I had imagined, but it was strikingly beautiful.
The car rolled to a stop and I jumped out, not waiting for my family. My father screamed my name with force, yelling at me to wait. I barely heard his voice as I ran along the beach. I took off my shoes and my feet sank in the sand. I wondered if the sand was always this warm and appealing. It was as if there was a heater far under the surface. I moved slowly toward the water, stopping every couple of feet to look at the debris the rolling waves left on the sand. Without warning, a wave pounded in, taking me by surprise. The coarse salt water soaked my pants. I plopped down on the beach, just sitting and watching the waves. I sat for what seemed like hours and let the sounds wash over me. The crashing waves, seagulls, chatter of people became a sweet symphony. It was something I had never heard before, yet was eerily familiar.
Brooke Marie Hall, my father bellowed. Slowly I turned, and gazed in the direction of his voice, My family was not far behind and I could tell I was in trouble. Why did you run ahead like that. You know that you should wait for the rest of us.
I am sorry dad, I managed to choke out, still in a daze. I just really wanted to see the ocean. My mother sat beside me and opened a wicker picnic basket. My stomach growled, but I was too excited to eat. As I sat beside my family, I stared at the waves. They crashed against the rocks and beat into the sandy shore, leaving an outline as they retreated. Giant swells were mixed in with smaller less intense swells.
I began to imagine walking into the water and loosing myself, swimming out past the waves, the dock or the mountains barely visible in the horizon. Swimming until the sky touched the sea and all became one. I wished to leave everything behind and explore the endless mysteries of the ocean. Yet, I sat planted next to my family watching the waves roll in.
My soul is filled with the sights and sounds of that day. Every time I travel to the ocean I remember what it was like the first time, the small child sitting on the beach listening and watching the waves graze the sand. I have been back to the ocean countless times and each time I am filled with awe and wonder. There is so much to learn from the ocean and I know I will never learn it all. Through my many trips to the ocean I have learned a great deal. My soul has become like the waves, moving against the shore of life.
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