To the Blind Man: The Ocean

For as much as you do not feel the still air around you everywhere you
walk, the ocean resists you with every movement, even when it is
still. Its power is so great that it will knock a man from his feet
in an instant, and drag him beneath its endless, crushing might, and
express both the air from his lungs, and the life from his body. The
ocean will, when it meets the land, crack a stone, topple a wall, and
sink a mighty ship with many chambers. The ocean moves endlessly,
both in great strength and great patience, but always in circles. It
waits for us at the end of the land. It is, for man, another world,
and we can but cower, cling fast to its tops, and pray that it does
not drag us into its immeasurable depths. To stand at the ocean's
shore is to stand at the border of a mighty kingdom. The sand beneath
your feet reminds you of the power of the ocean's kingdom, its ability
to our world of land to utterly destroy it, and yet its borders, it
cannot rise much above the height of a tiny berm or dune. The ocean
borders the sky and is there quite flat. The earth walls it in with
even the most modest of heights. And yet for all its terrors, the
ocean gives us its waters as the life-bringing rain. Storms build
across the ocean, and its endless waters are drawn up into a third
kingdom, the sky, to form great clouds and bring upon us rain and
wind. The breath of the ocean brings mist and salt, always damp,
always cool, and sometimes incomparably cold. The voice of the ocean
is a whisper and a roar, either with its murmurs across fine sand or
its clapping against the rock. It moves with great and formless hands
against the shore to pound out its endless rhythm, both loud and soft.
With the nadir of the moon, it rises slowly over the day sometimes to
a height of several feet, always moving, and at the zenith, it
retreats under the invisible forces of gravity, to subdue it to its
depths. At the land, it forms mighty walls, always on approach across
its tops, sometimes smooth, sometimes rough, and it surrenders into a
crash of harmless foam. In its midst, when men float precariously
upon its surface, these walls are subdued and roll onwards in their
fight with the kingdom of the land. A boat rises and falls upon its
surface, sometimes tossed when the rolls of the ocean become confused
and stirred by the storms of the sky. The men of the earth who live
at its borders both love and fear the kingdom ocean. Some work above
it, some play at its borders, but none belong to it.

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