The Sea

I have been dreaming of late, dreaming of the sea.

I have a confession to make. Nothing earth shattering or terribly revealing, just a quirk… or perhaps more correctly a phobia: the sea terrifies me. It is not a fear of water, for swimming pools and lakes offer no problem, nor does swimming at the seashore, rather it is the open sea that contains horrors for me.

There are easy theories as to why this should be so, but the reasons run deeper and are not all clear to my understanding. I remember the first time I crossed the Atlantic, on a contract bound for the Virginia colony as an indentured maidservant. The smell is the first thing that comes to mind, but fast on the heels of that is the Sea. The certain knowledge that beyond the hull was the cold, deep, gray and merciless expanse of heaving water, like some malevolent beast hungry for my very life- I remembered how eagerly it had claimed me before, how grudgingly it had given me up. Ever since then the idea of being lost in the open sea has sent shudders down my spine. Suffice it to say that when we reached Virginia I was never so happy to be sold in all my life.

I spent seven weeks in that stinking hold, clinging to a post or huddled in the bunk I shared with four others. One of the women would force me to eat or take a little water from time to time. I doubt I slept more than an hour at a stretch. I hardly noticed that a third of the crew and half the human cargo succumbed to disease, or that I had so callously broken the neck of one young tough who thought I could benefit from his special sort of “comforting”. I cannot even begin to accurately describe my state of mind- I have never been in such a deep and prolonged state of irrational fear. Suffice it to say that since then I have ventured on to a ship only three times, and never for long voyages.

Yet here I am, dreaming of the sea. Not just waking in the morning and remembering dreams (which is something I never do), but waking in the middle of the night shaken from slumber by vivid images of the sea and myself. And I am left longing for the sight, the sound, and the smell: I ache for the Sea. Yet the sea still terrifies me.

Someday I am sure I will understand it.

One Response to “The Sea”

  1. The following comments are reprinted as they first appeared on the original BlogSpot/Haloscan system. –ZM

    That which we fear the most, fascinates us.
    etherian | Email | Homepage | 10.13.03 – 10:53 pm | #

    At the very least, yes. Yet my dreams are oft of more than passing consequence…
    MD | Email | Homepage | 10.13.03 – 11:09 pm | #

    Some of my favorite dreams ever have been dreams about moving and even breathing under water. While awake I have the greatest respect for the sea, but in dreams when the waters are clear, I feel happiest when I am diving through water with my eyes wide open!
    rannva | Email | Homepage | 10.17.03 – 10:32 pm | #