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Sea: A Ferocious Beauty

by Joe Haward

There is something remarkable about the sea. Its beauty captivates us, the sound of the waves in their ceaseless ebb and flow, unconstrained, irrepressible. 

As a child I remember evenings on the water, the sun beginning its descent below the horizon, the waves almost purple, such was evening's glow. Then there were the summer nights walking along the beach, the silver moon casting its silver shine, waves reflecting back its luminescence. 

Poets and writers have written of the sea, its power to still our hearts, quieten our minds. There is, undoubtedly, a universal breathtaking quality to the sea.

And all of this is true.

But there is another side.

Ancient people were frightened of the sea. In the last book of the Bible, the writer imagines a world of peace and beauty where there will no longer be any sea. As someone who loves the sea, a world without the sea would not be my idea of paradise!

Yet in a world where the sea was mysterious, untamable, filled with monsters, and likely to get you killed, paradise would consist of this no longer being part of the world. 

Ancient sea monster painting

To the ancients, the imagery of a world without the sea didn't mean they imagined there actually being no sea, rather, they imagined a world where the fear that was represented by the destructive power of the sea, no longer existed.

Such an ancient fear and respect of the sea continues today with those who work on the water. In a moment the weather can turn, and scenes of tranquillity can become a nightmare.

The sea is not under our control. It will do what it wants, when it wants, and it demands our respect and careful attention. People whose livelihoods depend upon the sea understand that each moment you are on the water requires respect. Even for the most experienced of us, situations can occur that remind you how quickly things can turn.

The sea is something of beauty. But it is also wild and ferocious. 

We are thankful that we get to work with it, making a living doing the very thing that we love. 

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