The ocean is in my blood. I think often about this whenever I am at the shore, particularly while the waves lick my feet.
I wade into the breakers and just let myself go, moving further and deeper and allow my body to be pulled into the sea’s embrace.
My ancestors were seafarers. My great-great grandfather John sailed on clippers, then moved the family from Brooklyn to Iowa, and toiled as a Mississippi River pilot. For reasons lost to time, after only three years they returned to New York, settling in Port Jefferson in Long Island.
At a semi-abandoned cemetery near the bay I visited the graves of his wife, his daughter and her husband.
Yet John is not buried there. Instead, his grave lies in Boston. The story was he died while his ship was anchored in the harbor.
At the time John served as the navigator on a whaling ship. Perhaps this is why I have a fascination with maps. While he never returned home, being a sailor, John likely never left. It is because like me, the ocean flowed through his veins.
The breakers wait for my arrival, the winds buffeting the shore beckon, grasping my shoulders, and tousling my hair. I imagine that on the horizon, sails rise toward the sky as they cross northeast toward Nova Scotia and beyond.
As always, I step back to the shore. I stand on firm ground, in the desert that is the beach. When I gather my things and walk to the boardwalk I occasionally glance behind me to watch the sails sink behind the horizon.
I feel sad, but I get over it.
Mike Lee is an editor, photographer and reporter for a trade union newspaper in New York City. His fiction is published in Soft Cartel, Ghost Parachute, Reservoir, The Alexandria Quarterly and others. Website: www.mleephotoart.com. He also blogs for the photography website Focus on the Story.