Thursday, March 22, 2012

From the Atlantic Ocean to the Scorpio Sea and Back

Oh, Puerto Rico! (sung to the tune of Oh, Yoko) I love you so!

So much I almost didn't want to come back, especially sunburnt and peeling and having to go to work. :( The weather was beautiful, the people nice, but it was the sea (okay, it was the ocean) that made me want to stay forever.

I filled up my whole memory card with pictures of white-capped waves and breakers and sand and sun. The sound of waves filled our whole little beach house. Every night at high tide it would grow so loud I thought the waves would knock the place down, so relentlessly did they bash against the ocean-side wall. Leaving nothing in the morning to show for it but sand.


Hours would pass by where I did nothing but stare at the water, not thinking, barely breathing, just... being. My time belonged to no one but myself, so for once I didn't feel like it was a waste of time just watching the water and being.

Nature is full of destructive beauty, and nothing expresses that truth more effortlessly than the sea.

Many houses near our rental looked as if they hadn't been occupied in years, maybe even decades. With such neglect as that, some of them have begun to be swallowed up by the insatiable appetite of the Atlantic. 

Here's the thing about the destructive nature of beauty; it can attack when you least expect it, despite the warnings. Exhibit A: The Scorpio Races

I started to read Stiefvater's fourth novel while sitting on the back porch, staring at the waves, so it didn't take long to be transported to the island of Thisby in late October despite the balmy temps of Puerto Rico. I had no idea that this book would be as powerful and destructive as the sea, and as beautiful to boot. Powerful and beautiful are sentiments about a book I'm sure you can understand, but destructive? Only to my self-esteem, I assure you. ;)

Reading the book was only destructive because I let it damage me. I convinced myself I could never write this well, could never add this much intensity and urgency to my own writing. Could never make readers care as much about my own novels as I did for this one.

And then, like the tide receding into the sea, the feeling disappeared. Maybe it had something to do with the amazing rejuvenating powers of the ocean, or maybe just that I couldn't allow myself to wallow on my long overdue vacation, but I kicked myself out of the funk I was in and let the book I was reading inspire me, instead. That's when I saw them in the water...

The capaill uisce. Can't you see them, right there? The water-horses of legend. Or are they Peter S. Beagle's unicorns? Or Poseidon's sea-horses? Maybe there really are mermaids, selkies, and sea-monsters. The world is three-quarters water, after all. The undiscovered country, so to speak. There very well could be a whole race of Atlantean beings who know better than to show themselves to us humans.

Why not? It's big enough? In fact, it's that sheer might, that dauntless energy that helped me put things into perspective on my vacation. 

How about you? Do you see the capaill uisce? Or is there something else swimming around in the ocean of your imagination?


Anonymous said...

Ah! These pictures are absolutely breath-taking! I am one very jealous girl!

Krispy said...

Your vacation sounds like it was amazing, and it's so beautiful! Totally jealous!

I also absolutely agree with you on The Scorpio Races. I can't believe how good that book was. It was my last read of 2011 and my favorite read that year, and so far, nothing I've read this year even compares. That great "might be" is why I'm so in love with fantasy and fiction. :)

Cynthia Lee said...

Um . . . because I'm 6 months pregnant . . . the ocean makes me think of amniotic fluid. :)

Glad you enjoyed your vacation. I heaved a big ole sigh when you described sitting for hours, listening to the ocean.

Missed Periods said...

Sounds like such a dreamy vacation. I know what you mean about reading a book and feeling like you'll never be able to write like that. Glad you found inspiration instead.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

It sounds and looks like you had a lovely time. I usually take tons of notes when I'm on holiday, but while we were in Puerto Rico I did nothing....I read, walked, sun bathed and laid around. It was the perfect place for it. I'm glad you had a wonderful time too.