What more is there to sea
"VII The Chariot" Molly Schneider
As I peered over the edge of the boat, my reflection broke through the waves showing a nervous smile. Although the eyes looking back at me provided a small bit of solace, my fingers nervously dug at my palms. A holiday sunset cruise can be a form of relaxation, a moment of reflection on the past day, yet there I sat with a feeling of unease. The tenuous relationship between the ocean and me certainly didn’t help my anxiety. Perhaps out there, upon the azure water, something more than my own visage waited to stare back at me.
Out of nowhere, the boat began listing to the left. This startling realization caused only a brief moment of alarm that subsided the moment my sister and I realized its source. Dolphins were pacing themselves alongside the ship. An avid avoider of the ocean, such sea creatures never entered my life. Of course, my family took trips to aquariums on prior vacations, yet there was something different about seeing dolphins in the wild.
The boat sped along at great speed, hopping from wave to wave. Streaking along with us, the dolphins refused to give up, matching the ever-increasing pace of our boat. The way they flowed through the water set my mind at ease. The fears of spending the night with Davy Jones quickly morphed into a newfound intrigue for these wonderful animals. Though, eventually, as the sky dimmed, their energy also began to fade. With one last jump from the mirror-like water, they disappeared into the depths of memory.
Alas, the sun grew ever closer and my fellow passengers grew ever tired. Our emotions began to wane. Oh captain, our captain, nearly forgot to announce the penultimate moment of the sunset cruise. Right when I thought the moment slipped away, the speakers rang out with the captain’s message of peace and relaxation. With those words in mind, I looked back toward the sea. With only the smallest ripples of light, the ocean sat before me: dark, cold, and miles deep. While this seemed bleak, the darkness moved out of the way for calming ripples to take their place. Mirroring the water, my mind became calm as well. What started out as a rippling sea within my brain had calmed itself into gentle waves. Following my anxiety in its gentle descent, the sun finally took its final bow ending our sunset show.
While the darkness may have seemed cold in its embrace, piercing it like the appearance of a strange ocean liner on the horizon, Christmas lights appeared. Like the flick of the proverbial switch, nearly every home began to light up, casting a warm glow that reflected across the coast. In what felt like a magical moment, the captain deftly switched on holiday music to aid our journey back to the port. Before making our way to the dock, however, the boat aimed down one of the canals adjacent to our destination. Passing enormous homes, we entered a whole new world. Homeowners gently waved at our vessel that wove in and out of the maze of canals in this small world. Lavish lights helped guide the way to peace with their bright reds and blues filling the air. Like fireworks on the Fourth of July, their colors drew the eyes and mind into a state of excitement.
I finally relaxed fully. My hands went from tight to slouched like the people waving from their yards. My mind, a calm ocean surface, and my body, tired from the theatrics of the day.
The two-hour journey ended as quickly as it started. Weary families pulled themselves out of their seats and marched single file on the path home. Whether that home was in Florida or far off on the horizon, the sense of peace from an amazing spectacle filled the air. I said a long farewell to the fears of an ocean journey. What seemed so daunting, the high dive jump into the wide sea now appeared no scarier than the shallow end of a wading pool. With a calm surface-like mood, I stepped back onto solid ground. The darkness faded back into the lights of the dock and I sailed away into sleep while making the final voyage home.