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A little experiment in sensory writing partially inspired by a TS Poetry prompt.


April 1, 2015

Yesterday we took a drive out to Sakonnet Point. The ocean air in Rhode Island always smells a little different. In Florida, it’s the sharp, salty sting that gets you before you see the first wave. Here, the ocean vaguely smells of fish and soaked leaves.

But the air of the sea is my native air. Mountains are great, but they make me feel like a nature tourist, just visiting. Forests are beautiful, and I’m becoming more accustomed to their shifts of light, their winding trails, their little discoveries. Walk softly. Stay on the path. They expand my world to the heights of stone, the edges of the treeline. I am filled in a similar way that traveling to a foreign land might expand and fill you.

But the air of the sea is air I can breathe easier. On sand or rocks, the shore feels open to worlds beyond that I cannot see or conquer on my own. Mysteries. I can breathe in the salt and feel it resonate. (For aren’t we all, on an atomic level, at least partially made of salt water?) The wind and waves are recklessly playful, persistent — do it again and again and again and…

I could be alone by the sea and feel peace, at home. Let my guard down a little lower. Listen to it churn the shore and polish lands hard edges. Feel a shock of cold water run through my fingers. Taste the crisp edge of ancient minerals as I breathe them in. See the ever-changing blues, greens, grays flecked with white, reflecting the expanse above as below.

My native air. I am at home here at the edge of my known world.