The Eternal Protector

By Viviana Sanchez, TIWP Student

“All the ingredients are here, which is gratitude…
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.” — Mary Oliver

The ocean is alive, always.

The waves are the heartbeat of the Earth.

Clams bring bubbles up to the surface of the briny broth.

Kelp floats in families that brush your feet or wrap around your forearms.

Large, dark, algae covered rocks lurk silently and half sand-covered, deep under the surface.

The waves crash again the shore, created a perpetual, lapping lullaby.

The water tumbles green glass and crab shells and little black stones.

These same waves, this same water, has been beating against the shore for billions of years.

The waves still crash in the dead of night and, when no one is watching, waves from the bright blue, salt-filled Mediterranean oceans are quietly rolling up to the sands of Italian coastal towns.

Waves from the heart-droppingly-deep, dark, and icy oceans at the poles are roughly shoving and hugging ice caps.

Crystal clear Hawaiian waves are crashing right now.

Inky blue and kelp-filled waves are falling as you read in California.

The ocean is alive even when you are gone or asleep.

The water does not ask for attention.

The sea sits humble.

We can fill its depths with pollution and poison its waters and market its waves and we can hunt the animals that call the ocean home, but we cannot kill the water.

We cannot burn or cut or destroy the oceans.

I love the ocean.

I was never an obsessive swimmer

but I love that it curls my hair and makes my skin salty.

I love it’s beaches and glass and stones and tide pools.

I love it’s locals, the gray fish and sea stars.

I love the coastal locals, who live with sun-bleached hair and surfing before school.

The ocean has never asked anything of anyone but it colors the skies and brings rain storms

and washes the ground’s dirt and pollution into itself.

The ocean is humble like that.

It lives as a heartbeat, a sacrificer,

an eternal protector from the people who try to destroy it and hurt it.

But the ocean is not scared of them

and it reassures the octopus and otter and anglerfish and the sleepy dug-up clam,

telling them all, over and over, how it is that they will live forever,

convincing them they will be together and alive as the Earth’s infinite heartbeat

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