The Boy and the Ocean

by E.Hughes, UK

The boy sleeps.

Swimming amongst a shoal of glassy fish. An octopus. The low hum of whales calling their babies back to them. He feels the energy of the ocean, how it all links together with things too small for him to see and things too large for him to imagine.

In his dream he floats like a jelly fish. 

A gentle beam of light pierces through his body, a thread connecting him to all of life present and past.

All of a sudden the water starts swirling as a mighty form, thick red and green seaweed, corals and hot lava. The shape of a woman. 

An enormous hand. She gently scoops the boy up and cradles him in her mighty, barnacled hand. 

She comes closer to him. Enormous lips to tiny ear. In a panicked whisper she gasps… 


She vanishes and is replaced by a prickle of fear in the boy’s body. The boy senses all the things in the ocean that don’t belong. Things that have no life. Some are so small he can’t see them, others float above… colours and shapes and textures that are brittle and lifeless or slick and black. 

The boy feels the unimaginable enormousness of the problem… Stuck…  What can he do?

The boy wakes up.

He draws his curtains.

The ocean. The blue, the grey morning. 

The panic from his dreams returns.

His mama comes in wet from her early morning sea swim. She smells of salt. He runs to her and cries, his salty tears mixing with the drips of salt water on her hair.  

He tells her of his dream, his panic, how small he felt and he cries.

“I see you…I see you,” his mama hums. The boy’s mama knew his panic and pain.

The goddess of the sea had visited her too.

“I am your Mama, I am strong and big and I will hold you through this.” 

As she speaks the boy looks at her long wet hair and her bright green eyes and he sees the goddess’s glimmer in her.

“Come with me,” she says.

He in his pyjamas and she in her dressing gown. Hand in hand they walk to the sea. 

Gulls and the roar of the waves.

The vastness and rolling movement.

Fresh and salty.

The water icy-cold on their toes.

The waves hurtle forward as the boy inhales. With his exhales they are sucked back.

The boy and the sea and the sea and the boy.

They stay like this for some time until the roar of a car on the sea road above brings them back. 

“But what now Mama?”

“Look,” says his Mama, “others.” He looks along the shore-line to others looking out to sea, others with whom the Goddess would speak should their ears be open to hear it. 

“We find our strength through them. The ocean is connectedness and we are part of that.” 

Time passes. 

They meet, they share, they cry, they sit, they work, they plan, they speak their truth 

to those in power, they vision.

As the boy grows he and the people around him change… they let go of a lot but in exchange… they return to themselves and to the ocean.

The boy sleeps again, he dreams he is in the ocean, the ocean is clean, the goddess sleeps peacefully. Energy flows as energy should. All life started here and life is here in abundance. 

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