I rode on the back of a fourteen hundred horse-power boat on a supposed “Whale Tour”. We were one of the three boats that summer that would not see any whales, but it didn’t really matter. As I rocked back in forth from the inside of the boat towards the back door, I gripped on to the holds on the tables and diner-style booths to keep from falling over. Once outside, I held onto the railing of the stern. If I didn’t, I would have flown into the Pacific Ocean like a plastic bag out of a Katy Perry single.
All that was between me and the current was that railing, and after about an hour of heading straight to the ocean on our fruitless search for whales, you could only see the ocean, the sky, and the Olympic Peninsula in the distance off the port and bow. If you looked straight out from where I stood, all you saw was blue touching blue and the land you had been on just an hour ago was out of sight. It was just me, the ocean, and the sky, and you know… the cabin behind me with three or four seasick people amongst the twenty-odd others whose iron-clad stomachs could handle the roller-coaster-esque ride we were on. I was one of those blessed with a stomach of steel. My mother used to take me to amusement parks as a baby and a small child. So, one could say that being hurled about by mechanical machinery is one of my talents.
Looking out at the dark blue being broken up by our propeller, I reflected back on the year, on the summer– on how unhappy I had been and how I felt like even though I was giving everything I had, I was still buffeted on all sides. I began to realize that I had grown seasick of my own life– spinning around seemingly aimless for almost two years. But, I looked out at the ocean and the sky and felt at peace. My troubles had seemed so immense, but nothing was so galactic in size as the actual galaxy my tiny planet was in, let alone the universe– something scientists and artists alike have been trying to fathom since the existence of human kind.
I started to cry–my sunglasses masking the wind and the two women behind me from seeing the physical reaction to the thought that I am barely a drop in the ocean, really. I am a minuscule speck in the entirety that is the universe and I will never fully understand how incredibly insignificant I am– let alone how piddling my problems are.
I am leaving to Japan in thirty days. I will see a cultural universe unlike my own– foreign in every fashion. And I hope that as I grip onto the railing to keep from going over board that I cry– not because of seasickness or because I didn’t see what I expected to see– but because I’ll look out for the land that I used to know and I will no longer see it and I will realize that my life is just a drop in the ocean of lives on this planet. I hope I will cry at the privilege to be apart of the story– written, remembered, current, and forgotten– which is human existence.
In the end, I am just a drop in the ocean, but there is still an ocean.
“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.”
Gif. belongs to Washington City Paper.