Pacific Ocean, Hawaii - Faith Berry

I have been surrounded by water my whole life; living on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean has that effect. A home encased by the oceans makes a deep relationship with water unavoidable for Hawaii residents. I have always loved the sea and appreciated the beautiful beaches and waves that living in Hawaii has provided me with. When I go to the beach with friend, I am always surprised when they spend half of the time tanning when they could be in the water. I usually leave them to their lounging and glide into the ocean. The sensation of the cool salt water sliding around my body and threading through my hair is incredible. Rather than trying to swim long distance, I am content with simply walking through neck high water and feeling my body lift up as gentle waves and currents push and pull me. It's the simple things; infinitesimally tiny and ineffably soft sand beneath my feet, the ocean spray riding warm winds and dusting my face like fairy dust. Sometimes, if I am lucky, I can find blue and green sea glass where the waves collide with sand, or I'll be visited by a green sea turtle or monk seal. I'll always appreciate the gorgeous ocean and lovely treasure it holds, be it intricate shells or slender silver fish. However, for most of my life my appreciation for the ocean was as shallow as Paia's "Baby Beach". Beaches were pretty and fun, nothing more to it. I remember the one day that forever changed my view of the ocean, when the tides were high but I walked into the water despite warnings. The waves increased in size rapidly and soon I came face to face with a seven-foot wave and no way around it. In trying to get away by running towards the shore, I gave it more distance to grow in size. The next ten seconds went by in a blur, and it seemed to me that Kanaloa's cold, cruel fingers had wrapped around my feet and dragged and pushed me into the ocean floor. I eventually pulled myself out, and I suffered no injury, but it took time for me to recover and enter the sea again. With time, I learned to change with the waves rather than combat them. I know how to dive into massive waves so that you can avoid being pulled along with them. There was a time where I saw the ocean only on the surface. I see now that the ocean is equally beautiful and strong, and should be revered for both it's breathtaking appearance and overwhelming power.

Maggie Huang
Faith Berry

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