My Mentor the Sea
Esther Hung, Division 2, 10th grade #ws16e-s2d2

“You have to find that place which brings out the human in you. The soul in you. The love in you.” ~ R.M. Drake

I have always loved the sea, loved the chortle of gulls streaking across the blue, the waves lapping against the shore, the unending melody of the ocean contained within a shell next to your ear. The sea is as beautiful as it is wild, and though I sometimes fear it for its power, it has an irresistible air of mystique that has drawn me back to it time after time. After all, we humans have always been drawn to the things that frighten us the most, because they are also the things that can inspire us like none other.

Speaking of inspiration, there is a word called “querencia”, meaning a place from which one’s strength is drawn, where one feels most at home, or where they are closest to being who they truly are. The sea is befitting of this word. When I am near the sea, alone, I feel like a changed person, though the person I’ve changed into is really only who I was before who the world told me to be. The sea speaks to me with the wind in my hair and the sea spray upon my skin. It tells me that I am broken, but I am beautiful. It tells me I have as much potential as the hidden strength of a single wave whose reincarnation is a tsunami. The words of the sea are enlightening, and I believe they are true. Thanks to those words, I have found the strength to stand back up after every fall. It is my encouragement, as well as my inspiration.

The waves have taught me several meaningful lessons that I’ve applied to my life. The first of them is persistence and power. The ocean, if given enough time, can wear away anything. It could change landscapes and sink entire islands. It could reclaim lands we’d thought were ours and crash beyond our expectations. With its persistence and power, it has taught me that I too, have the ability to do great things. Perhaps I could not change the way of the land like the mystical ocean, but I could, and I will, commit deeds that could help make our world a better place. Perhaps not now, perhaps not soon, but as long as I stay as persistent as the sea, I shall. The ocean is the birthplace of all that is great and powerful. It has created typhoons and summoned tsunamis. And it is one with my soul and entire being. With this ancient entity by my side and within me, I believe I can overcome anything.

Birthplace it is to all things great and powerful, the ocean is also the birthplace of love. My love for the sea, the sea's love for me. Venus, the goddess of Love herself, sprang forth from the foams of the sea. Like the sea, love is sometimes rough and wild, sometimes calm and still, but in the end, it is always beautiful. There is no end to true love, just as there is no true boundary of the sea. There are hidden storms in every wave, enticing beauty behind every storm and in the end, when you stand, unyielding to the typhoons and waves that battle to tear you down, you'll see that there is nothing more beautiful than the way the sea refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, despite being sent back each time.

To me, the sea also represents freedom. I feel the most relaxed and unrestricted when I am with the ocean. I believe it’s human nature to want to be unrestrained, thus making the sea an ideal symbol of freedom. That vast stretch of deep blue waters bound only by the sky above, held back by nothing and capable of everything, can represent humans very well. You cannot restrain the sea, no more than you can restrain a person’s ideals.

Though you can beat someone down and tell them to be mindless, you cannot and will never attain complete control over them. The sea, after all, does not think kindly of being restrained. Thoughts are as wild as the currents within the ocean as are our emotions, and those are the two elements that you cannot keep from humans. For instance, you cannot keep someone from feeling sadness or pain, no more than you can stop the force of a whirlpool. Like the sea, our hearts -- our emotions -- are wild. That’s why our ribs are cages. And do our ribs keep our heart from beating? I think not. In a way, I suppose you can say that the sea is within us. Its persistence, its potential, its independence -- those are all important elements in what makes us human. Perhaps that’s also why I’m drawn to it, like fish to a bait. I have never met a better kindred spirit. It is a capricious thing, this fey sea that encircles Formosa, and in a way, very human, and very much like a friend.

Perhaps the next time you come face to face with the ocean, you’ll remember my words and see something different about the sea of which you’ve always taken for granted. I hope you see the waves brimming with its mysteries and way of life, and for once, appreciate what it has taught us. The sea is a spectacular place, as enchanting as it is sovereign. It is not only the birthplace of life and love, but also the mentor of them. Within the salty sea breeze is freedom. Bubbling in the ocean froth are ideals. Constrained in the crashing waves is power. Down in the watery depths are emotions. And when you gaze at the reflection of the sky the sea mirrors, remember that there is always hope.

The sea, my mentor, thank you.
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