“On Being Ocean” Fiction. Based on a True Walk Along the Coast.

“The ocean has no mind, yet she has speech. She has no breath, yet lives.”

“On Being Ocean”

Fiction. Based on a True Walk Along the Coast.


This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.

-Starry Teller

The ocean never says a word, yet she never stops talking. She rambles and roars. Sometimes we stop to listen to her overpowering speech. Other times, we let her voice fade into a dull murmur. Even more, sometimes we shut her out completely while we stroll in her presence.

“How absurd,” one might say. “The ocean cannot speak.”

To this I would ask: “Have you ever been listening?”

We stay in our own worlds rotating around ourselves, even when jogging back and forth across the ocean’s boundary. We only actively notice her when her tide rises and she threatens to soak our legs with salty water. Thus, we mind her presence only as it pertains to ourselves. This is why we adopt familiar phrases such as “The ocean is so vast.” Vast in comparison to what? Ourselves? Does she compare to the oceans upon other worlds?

Because we are intimidated by the ocean’s size relative to our own, we like to break her apart and anatomize her elements. Mathematic equations explain her elliptical versus circular waves. Her tides are predicted to the minute. Further, we disassociate the ocean from herself as though each of her slices of beach were separate parts to be visited. But she is one. Her body spreads out as she dances along the coastlines of the world, but that does not mean her salty bays are somehow separated from her brackish lagoons. And if her tides follow a certain pattern, it is only because she chooses order over chaos. And sure, her waves can be measured, but could we ever measure the way she feels as she sets them into motion?

We tread upon the sand that the ocean has washed up and call it ours—call it land. But is it still land when she takes it back again? The land is never ours to hold—that’s why her sand sifts through the cracks in our fingers as we try to claim it.

The ocean has no mind, yet she has speech. She has no breath, yet lives. If we should attempt to understand the world through the turbulent foam dancing across shorelines, we would most certainly lack perspective.

On being ocean, we bear resemblance only when the fading sun, partly hidden behind fragments of atmosphere, gently kisses our skin as it kisses the glassy water spreading out before us.

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