The Sea: Master and Mother

Updated on December 16, 2017
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Science, nature and the environment, with regard to human impact, are subjects to which Chris applies his passions for research and writing.


The Sea

I walk along the shore with the ocean expanding on my left until it converges with an orange blaze where the sun seems to sink into its depths. For a moment, the golden shaft nearly reaches to where my feet bathe in waves that run up the sand like rebellious children then retreat to their mother’s arms.

I proceed in twilight’s dusk to where the cliffs on my right reach out with knobby fingers of stone into the sea as if they might grasp and control the mighty deep. But the smooth surface of the boulders and the grains of sand between my toes tell me that the battle between land and sea was won long ago.

Shore birds dart to and fro with the waves and shifting tide, feeding on small creatures washed up onto the sand before the next wave retrieves them. The circle of life reaches from the sea where it begins with the largest subsisting on the smallest which provide the air I now breathe.

The sea is master. It assaults with storms and waves. Land crumbles in its angry tirades. The sun surrenders for a few hours, but the sea remains. Always, the sea remains.

The sea is mother, the source and sustenance of all. She caresses my face with the gentle breeze, she cools my feet and calms me with her constant drum beat.

I have slapped her face, yet the she remains, sustains, gives, feeds, caresses. And when we are gone, she will heal herself and renew the world.


Undulations of the Sea

As I approach the water, the pungence of the sea grows stronger with each stride. Waves break and wash onto the beach, then carry back into the surf crabs and seashells just delivered. Long legged shorebirds play tag with foamy run-up as it rushes across white sand. Pelicans fly in undulating synchronism over heaving swells where dolphins surface and dive again. Farther out, a humpback whale breaches, waves its flippers, and drops gracefully back into the briny depths.


Plastic Waste and the Ocean

Phytoplankton produces fifty percent of Earth’s oxygen. Our response is to continue to discard our plastic bags and bottles into their environment. Plastics break down to less than a millimeter and are consumed by phytoplankton. These microplastics cause the feces of phytoplankton to sink more slowly than normal so that they are more likely to be eaten by other animals. Microplastics have been found in the intestines of twenty-five percent of fish and thirty-three percent of shellfish sold at market.

People who live in the interior of continents tend to think the problem is caused by coastal populations. This simply is not true. Wind blows our plastic refuse to streams which carry them to rivers, then to the ocean. Support a ban on plastic grocery bags.

My home state is Michigan. How has our state government responded to this crisis? They banned banning plastic bags. Did you understand that? They didn’t ban plastic bags, they banned the banning of them. Local governments in Michigan cannot ban plastic bags in their jurisdictions. One Michigan county is challenging this law.

Find out what your state is doing to curb the pollution of our lakes, rivers and oceans with plastic grocery bags and disposable plastic bottles.


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    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 weeks ago from Central Florida

      Chris, I love that you reminded us of the beauty and power of the ocean before bringing up the point of plastic contamination. Hopefully, those who don't think about what we're doing to our earth and wildlife, will see it from an in-your-face perspective.

      I think it's deplorable that Michigan has banned banning plastics. Take the lawmakers out into the ocean to view the damage that's been done to land, sea, and its inhabitants. Maybe they'll think twice before they say "no" to "just say no"!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 3 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      "Always the sea remains." I appreciate your appeal to consider her contribution to our lives, and our responsibility to respect her. Thanks for your explanation on the dangers of plastic waste.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 4 weeks ago from Missoula, Montana at least until March 2018

      Thanks for visiting, Linda

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Plastic waste in the ocean is a very worrying situation. We are treating our planet horribly. Thanks for publicizing the situation, Chris.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Just a quick fly by to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas! Thank you for your friendship!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 weeks ago from England

      I read the beginning and thought, ah how lovely! then I got to the plastic bit etc, and got angry again. How can people do this? makes me so darn nuts!

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 5 weeks ago from Missoula, Montana at least until March 2018

      MizB, my usual would have conjured a horrible strain of mutant phytoplankton which would join together into a monstrous beast to threaten the Earth's shipping lanes. Hmmmm, not bad.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 5 weeks ago from Missoula, Montana at least until March 2018

      Manatita, sounds like a good prescription. I'll do it.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 5 weeks ago from Missoula, Montana at least until March 2018

      Eric, I hope you enjoy the day on the bay. I'm sitting here in my second favorite place on the planet, Missoula, Montana, nursing a cold or flu.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 5 weeks ago

      Not your usual, but what a message! I agree that what we are doing to our planet with plastics is such a shame. At least glass bottles with their deposits upon return made sense. Here in our city, we aren't allowed to place glass in the recycle receptacles, and there are no deposits on glass bottles. Plastic is everything. Those thin grocery bags are smaller and weaker than the old Kraft paper bags, so it takes more of them to hold fewer items. I would like to see a ban on them. I agree with the comment about the reusable bags though. I forget to either put them in the car or take them into the store when I do. My bad. Thanks for the message to all of us.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 5 weeks ago from london

      Get well, my Brother.

      Stay strong for Christmas. Drink more fluids; eat lots of fruits and berries. But if you are weak, wait for a while prior to detox.

      Yes, I will look at it, but not yet. Thanks a million!!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 5 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Fantastic. I was just chatting with a friend yesterday. We both agreed that the bags were all but gone in about 10 months of cessation. We all laugh about our reusable bags and forgetting them in the car.

      And now I hear rumblings that those damn six pack ring holders are going to be banned. Hurry.

      Here in San Diego county our worst bio-hazard and plastic trash comes from our homeless. And they got the worst of it with about 60 deaths from hep.

      My children and I will meet up at the Star of India today and just love our relatively clear bay.

      Thanks for reminding me to be a part of it and feel it as home.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 5 weeks ago from Missoula, Montana at least until March 2018

      I thought about trying a poem. It felt right at certain places. But I'm sick right now and don't have the energy to tackle something so challenging as poetry. Thank you for the encouragement. Feel free to turn it into a poem for us. haha.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 5 weeks ago from london

      Well, I thought that they had banned them here, but not in all places. Some shops have to sell them legally at about ten cents U.S, but the supermarkets have their own stronger bags which they sell for between 15 and 25 cents, to encourage re-use. It's a good start, I suppose.

      This is another brilliant piece and quite poetic in some places. I could easily turn it into a poem. Such powerful images. Well done!!