twenty-five: the atlantic ocean.

rye beach, nh. february 2012.

As a New Englander, my first love was the Atlantic Ocean. Of course we’re assuming my other first loves were my immediate family and our dog, and they were, obviously. But outside of them, my heart belonged to the Atlantic Ocean the first time its waves rolled against my two-year-old toes.

I was born in on Massachusetts’ North Shore and before I was eight, my parents settled in Southern New Hampshire. We were 40 minutes north of Boston and 30 minutes west of the NH coast. Although my heart was set on NYU and Emerson for college, it was the coast that won out and I took my undergraduate studies to the University of New Hampshire. I tell people it was because my one of my favorite poets, Charlie Simic taught there; and yes, that’s true, but what’s even more true was the fact that I was a 10 minute drive away from the coast where I first learned what love really meant.

Some people are snowbunnies, others book junkies, and there are also those who find a deep passion in collecting stamps, but not me. It’s my beloved Atlantic Ocean that always sets me straight. Us New Englanders, we can swim amongst its waves as early as March and as late as November. It’s the cold, you see, that complements our rocky New Englander insides. We’re like Vikings, but stronger… we have granite in our veins.

I know what the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of NH feels like in mid-February because I needed the salt to wash me clean. I also know how it feels like on a Halloween weekend off the coast of Atlantic City, too, because I stripped down to almost nothing and ran for it because it was there… It’s a craving; I need it to keep me sane. True love bites you to the core with each wave; true love leaves you breathless when you re-emerge from the depths…

“All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea – whether it is to sail or to watch it – we are going back from whence we came.” – JFK

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