Whenever there’s a whisper of salt in the air, I'm blind and follow the breeze. I surrender. I’m called. A two hour train ride. It was that train, the same one that pulled me away from the office for a twenty minute tryst with the Pacific. I was hurried until I was in the water, coolness hitting me between my toes, behind my knees, the gap, my navel, the small negative of my back, my armpits. The shallow of my collarbone, where water collects. My ears. I disappear into the water, a mask floating on the waves. Deafened, save for my breath and the movement of the water, I feel still. Calmness loosening me, I let myself come apart as if loosening the strings of a marionette, its wooden parts moving away from each other, but swaying together with the water. I didn't want to spend a moment less in the water. It left me with not enough time to visit the local bathhouse to rinse, but just enough to smooth my hair and change into something presentable before taking the train back for dinner in the city center. Arriving to the table, looking so windswept elicited somewhat quizzical looks from my fellow diners, dressed and chicly so. The water, vital to me, took precedence to what I might have looked like, or what they thought of me looking that way. It had been five hours since leaving the office, so I was hungry. Secretly though, I already felt sated from the water.
On the same train today, I'm making my way back toward the water. This time, with my daughter. I shared the story, we retraced the same short trip, the same half-hour on the beach. The only thing that’s changed is 2008, her birth. And 2011- Fukushima. I told her that we won't swim during the half hour we're there.
"Mommy. I'm sorry for the world. I'm sorry Nature's hurting. But you know- it's still beautiful. Just in a different way. And we can still do cartwheels. It's my dream to see a big, sandy beach. We don't have to go in. Can we please go?"
Next to me is a girl who feels sorrow for the world- for the water’s changed. She’s also the one who can still revel and believe in the beauty of vastness of where the water meets sky.