The Sea, A Useful Water

The sea is for the little ones, not just for the little ones' parents and grandparents. After all, such parents at both ends do not know how to play, they say; in the sand, where they stand and you sit, on the beach, where you are so skilled with your colorful kit that's so rich, making sand-castles which stand like the beach not the strand, and where seashells can wend their way into the castle; pretty shells, cockle shells in the castle; so furtively seeping in when you're sleeping, not peeping, right into the axles of sandcastles, through the roof beam, as indeed they seem. At the seaside, parents only put you to sleep day in, day out – they're not meek when they shout and you're weak. Let me tell you a seacret: they've only just come about, to the seaside, with you – to be, like the tide, in the way! As things stand, they just go on and shout on the strand, and it's always about 'What are you doing?' 'Where are you going?' 'Stay put, pray don't move your foot!' So they're even worse than the grandparents twain who are little again.But now you're with me, just you and me, and, you know, I don't always try to pick on people whom I want to save. I shall explain the sea to you now wave by wave.The sea is, for us, a useful stretch of water every season. It stretches from here to the horizon. It stretches even beyond that line but this is of no concern of yours or mine. Ships glide in it like on a lane of snow on the hillside. But if you take a closer look, you shall see it glides on fish, like a brook. Fish are here like grass, in plenty. And they grow out of the blue, like my beard of no hue. Some dance, others have wings that are beautifully pied and you'll find them dancing and prancing off the waters of the Coral Island. There's other waters with sharks carrying saws in their jaws to prey on you if you're daring them from the offing. In the deeper waters, should you venture there for adventure, swim fish that are plain, too plain to bother in twos or threes to devour each other. The sea porcupine quaffs the algae in underwater dales until the sea raises waves at the surface, a maze! The seal's almost as big as the moon. If I had a fishing rod, I'd fish you one as a boon. Having no means to hunt in the lagoon, though, let's into this punt and look at the Seaboard instead. You know from many a fairytale how seas team with castles on their bottomline, don't you? People have roped up the castles to let them have a respite in the sun, on the shore. Look yonder, there is salt water dripping in rills all over their front... and you have not seen yet half of the wonder. The most heavenly thing is the haven where the sea, with its strings, works her way in with a lull among many a seagull. We work our way home just like her in the hull of a ship. People climb on board of the ship, as I say, light a cigarette and play at being far, far away for a day. This tall, slender lighthouse makes as far as the Finis Terrae our house.When the sea is in some kind of family trouble and riot, it raises a yell as big as hell with thunder and lightning, fretting and... 'spuming' – and foaming. This season is called "storm zone." Then you can't lie on the beach sipping each ultraviolet ray like ozone you lick from an ice-cream cone. The storm passes quickly, however; the sun comes out, we again frolic and shout. We come up from our hiding and shake our curls for an outing, as snails from their whorls do although they have no curls. But mind you, sons: nothing that is in excess in our own recess can lead to our weal, like the need that they feel for the jamjar to seal in preventing the stuffing. So don't go about frisking in the sun for a whole day's toasting rather than tanning. Look at the waves basking in the sun so regularly, turning their backs into tums twice every two minutes, and daily! from Where Do We Go When Running Away?, Tineretului, 1967

by Marin Sorescu (1931-1996)