Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Something About the Ocean

My Girl Child has been fascinated with Marine Biology for a while - reading books, watching movies, learning about the creatures. But a book can't compare to the real thing, nor can a movie- not even in IMAX. Being a homeschooling madre extraordinaire, I feel it's my parenting responsibility to provide educational field trips to facilitate learning about our interests and passions. (Which makes a handy and valid reason to take lots of field trips.) So, off to the ocean I take my family, as often as possible. Tide pooling, beach combing and occasionally, in warmer months, immersion. The variety of living creatures and all of their colors and patterns is like an art show. There's so much to be explored, my kids never tire of it.

But for me, the lessons in the ocean go far beyond science.

No matter what's going on in life, good things or awful, it doesn't matter, there's just something about the ocean that lets you know that life is much bigger than any of us and our personal dramas.

No matter what I do, the tides keep coming in and going out. The constancy and massiveness put things in perspective and make me realize that my little problems aren't really that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. Even when it creates massive destruction, if you watch it long enough, you see that in the end, it all works out.

I miss living near the ocean terribly. Not to complain, because I live in the wonderful state of California, where you can visit the ocean, mountains and desert all within a few hours. I get to visit her quite a few times a year, and I just got back from a visit last week. Still, I miss living closer because a few hours isn't the same as a few minutes.

I've only been to the Pacific Ocean, but I've explored her shores as far north as Alaska, and as far south as Costa Rica. In some ways she's the same- big, beautiful and powerful. In others, she's completely different. Costa Rican waters for example, beckon you to hop in with their bath like temperatures and colorful fish. Alaskan waters are best appreciated from shore or a boat.

I met a few young kids recently who had NEVER BEEN TO THE OCEAN!!!! I just simply can't imagine, because they lived in California. I mean, if you live in Kansas....OK, I get it....the ocean is far, but in California....really?

I would implore every adult who is responsible for children to take them to the ocean if at all possible. Find a way- skip lunch out for a couple weeks, take a day off, play hooky- whatever you have to do, just do it. Take yourselves for that matter, whether you have kids or not. It's worth the money and the time. (Since someone is bound to point out that the ocean is also dangerous and sometimes smelly, I'll go ahead and add that disclaimer. You're also likely to leave with sand in your ears, but it's worth it.)

Too many people skip on the amazing things the world has to offer because it takes a little effort, and to me the ocean is amazing. Too many others live right next to wonderful things, and just pass them by in the busyness of life. You don't want to be one of those people.

Hopefully, sometime soon, we'll find a way to dip our toes in the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, and eventually the Mediterranean. In the mean time, I'm making summer plans for oceans closer by, and I'll have to be happy with memories.


  1. I saw the ocean for the first time just two years ago. When I realized we were just an eight hour drive from Savannah, GA I knew I had to go. We just spontaneously took a weekend and off we drove over. It was a wonderful thing to experience with my girl child. She wasn't even four at the time, but she still remembers it - keeps begging me to go to California to see the other ocean.

  2. I'm glad you took your daughter to see the ocean, and that she remembers. Wasn't it worth it?
    It sounds like you're pretty far from California, but if you can make it, I'd say it's worth it too. The Northern and Southern California coasts are totally different too- both fabulous in their own way. I hope to get back soon, and to make it to the East Coast.

  3. It was completely worth it!


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