Blog, Memoir, Nature Photography, North Carolina, Travel, Vacation, Writers, Writing

The Ocean Breathes Salty

…won’t you carry it in?
In your head, in your mouth, in your soul.

the ocean is calling


Do you ever feel like that?

It’s been my experience that people tend to belong in one of two camps; Mountains or Beach. However, I’ve met lovers of both. There are certainly many reasons to love both.

It may directly relate to where you grew up, or where you spent summer vacations. Maybe it was where your grandparents lived. Or maybe the place you met your first love, found your true love, discovered your love of the outdoors.

Maybe it was always in the background of your childhood. Or maybe it was the background. Whatever or however the sea figures into your life, it tends to stick with you.


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Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

And it’s not necessarily that you like to be sitting or sprawling on a beach for entire days. You may loathe sand getting into every crevice; every nook and cranny of your person, your car, your lunch. It’s amazing how it finds its way everywhere. It’s obviously the pet hair of the seashore.

People who long for and yearn for the ocean tend to simply need to be near it. They like to do their everyday stuff having come in some sort of visual contact with it. They’re happy to work, play, eat near it, drive or walk past it, even see it through a window.

It may have very little to do with actually, physically touching it.

Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina
Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

And the converse tends to be true, too. Those of us who are not able to live and be near it, we look forward to getting back to it pretty much from as soon as we leave the area until we return.

Now obviously many people never leave it, and the rest of us are truly jealous. We know they wonder how we could have ever left in the first place; even if we’re very happy where we live, and especially if we chose to go there. And the sea, it’s simply a part of us, always.

Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina
Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

I have a deep respect for the ocean. It is beautiful, majestic and merciless. It will swallow you whole. You don’t play around with the sea, you can play around in it, but you need to always, always be aware that it is stronger and fiercer than just about anything else you will ever encounter.

Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina
Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina


That being said, although it can take everything, the ocean gives, also. Saltwater has healing properties; it’s good for what ails you. You can’t safely ingest it, but floating around in it is healthful, as well as relaxing.

Just the sound of the ocean can relax people. We drift off to sleep to the sounds of waves hitting the beach almost every single night as it’s a setting on our alarm clock. I look forward to it.

Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina
Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

In fact, I am writing this while on a short Oceanside holiday right now and I’ve got the door propped wide open so that I can hear the crashing surf. I admit I’ve been savoring every second of it.

Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina
Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

Sea Glass…this doesn’t even need to be expounded upon. It is so coveted and beloved that there are shops and festivals devoted to it. And beautiful and unique shells, as well.

Of course, it gives us food. Which, I love. Unfortunately it’s been overfished and polluted, but I’m only going to focus on the gift that is known as seafood for right now. From salmon to white fish; haddock, cod, flounder. From lobster, crab and shellfish, to mahi mahi, drum and red snapper. Tuna and swordfish steaks, arctic char, even sardines. And remember; wild, wild, Wild Caught is the way to go!

We’ve enjoyed a lot of these seafoods while on this trip. Not sardines though!

There’s boating; racing, sailing, cruises, sea kayaks, para-sailing, surfing and wind-surfing, and the ocean makes all of them possible. (Not to take anything away from lakes and rivers, etc.)

There are myths and stories; tall tales and fantastic voyages told in so many classic books. The creatures of myths, too; Jaws, the Kracken, mermaids and mermen, are all very well known. It can be so romantic and mysterious.

Just a few things to thank the sea for…thank you.

Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina
Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

Back to why I am writing about this today, like many other people, the ocean is a part of my soul. It is my happy place. I long for it when I’m inland, which is where I currently find myself living (which is near gorgeous mountains, the other side of a beautiful coin). And I daydream and fantasize about the day I can live near the sea again.

Many of my favorite memories involve it, if not revolve around it. It is kind of its own character in my life story, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I’m already wishing I didn’t have to leave it so soon. But I feel recharged again having spent time here at it. If it’s in my blood always, it’s also currently in my ears, in my nostrils and in my hair. And it’s most definitely, definitely in my heart.

I will be happy-sighing for weeks to come.

If you’re an ocean, sea, beach, or water person…you’ll probably know exactly what I mean…

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Roanoke Marsh Lighthouse, Manteo, Roanoke Island, NC
Roanoke Marsh Lighthouse, Manteo, Roanoke Island, NC
Sunrise at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina
Sunrise at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina


— Raina K Morton October 14 2014

*Title from a Modest Mouse tune called Ocean Breathes Salty, listen to it here

**After reading this piece a friend wrote this to me and it is exactly what I feel too, so I must share it:

“There is something so big about the sea, and it makes me feel so small, yet such a part of the world.”


2 thoughts on “The Ocean Breathes Salty”

  1. I’ve often thought about how water has affected me and my life so far , Rai , and you’ve said it all here. I wouldn’t want to be away from it for too long of a time ; I know that.
    Luv Dad

    Liked by 1 person

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