They would not admit in face but the wilderness of nature is vital for the soul of weary men,the busy modern man who wants gratification from the world without the patience to understand it.The man who works and eats and sleeps and marries and reproduces but never asks “why?”. In our wanderings we seek nature to make us happy,to provide us solace like a child from a broken home.
And so a quite sea and the sunrise over it allows us that unperturbed existence,it allows us to just hang in there.No questions and no explanations.
As you watch a sunrise over the ocean,nothing new happens,nothing that hasn’t happened before,but still something changes for all times to come,inside of you.
We are at the east coast of India near Konark,Odisha where the ocean is crashing at it’s ends and the red sun is coming up on the horizon.At early dawn,it is the world of sleepless mad souls and soulful creatures in search of solitude,people seeking things that they neither know of nor understand when they see it.The darkness of the night tiptoes away to reveal distant fishing boats returning from the revelries of the overnight fishing at sea.They look like black ghost ships mingled with the mist of the upcoming spring on the horizon. Earth is turning over once again to light and hope of another day.Two other fishing folk arrive on their rickety bicycle and throw around the net over the shallow waves on the beach and get lucky with crabs caught unaware .One of them shows me a big one,dangling from it’s fingers.
The growing light reveals a dead sea turtle washed up on the beach,and golden light shining on it’s decaying cadaver. Sea birds hover around,sometimes perching over the hard shell to peck at the flesh underneath.
Apart from me , the little red crabs witness these surreal scenes of the morning. They own the beach,trotting around in wet sands and hiding back in their little dungeon like holes. They keep doing that along with the rhythmic cycle of waves that wash the coast.Approaching and receding,eternal and forever,as if the pulse of mother nature itself.
The sundry shade of pink and purple at dawn slowly turns to pure yellow sunshine.A million golden threads lay bare on the surface of Bay of Bengal,shimmering and heaving with an old pride.A golden fabric is made to heave and sway as the day’s sun cast it’s first light on the sea surface. Something tells me that I am permitted at this hour to think of anything and everything , I am allowed to reflect on life,death and the universe.The nearest star to earth ,the source of all life and love on earth peeps over the horizon.Time is perhaps cyclic in character but our lifetimes are linear,that we are sure of.
The group of fishing boats finally return to the shore,briging back the bounty of the night – fish ,crabs,shrimps and a little bit of moonlight too.The tired men make their way to the village near the coast and the boats rest along the coastline ,looking tired but old and strong for more adventures.I wish we had the time and patience of the sea,gently breaking stones into pebbles,pebbles into sand and keeping it close to heart forever. At it’s deepest depths ,the ocean must hold many secrets still unknown to men and time,like the heart of a woman,unfathomable and mysterious for all.
And so this very morning we abandon time and the slow decay it brings – I guess the only way to conquer time is through cherishing it.By not being absent in the moment,not speculating on past and future while the sun rises over the ocean.By being transfixed like a child watching this scene for the first time.To understand the true nature of time is to begin living each moment that it brings.
More birds have gathered around the dead turtle,nimbling away at the flesh under the shining and hard shell.
This beach must have been caressed and shaped by a million sunrises like this one,but today is different as I sit and watch the theatre of creation.I may sit another day as I have done before, but it will never be the same again.The waves will not shape up and crash as they do today,the crab will not walk as it does today.May be all thigs will repeat themselves,but in my heart I hope,that they don’t.It’s like a piece of music,harmony in wholesomeness.I try and keep the landscape inside me,not like a moment frozen in time but more like a living creature that I can talk to.Men must understand that if they go and watch sunrises more often,they can learn talking to them.They can experience a sunrise even in their desperate moments,in their darkest hours.They can make the sunrise a part of them forever.
And the sound.
The sound of silence as the waves crash on the coast.The rhythmic rising and falling of the ocean pervades everything else,it washes your soul down to a level of calmness and peace that no material object can gratify.It doesn’t give you anything but makes you realize that may be nothing else is required as of now.Simple joys of life and living .The silence is so hallucinating that the only other place to witness such may be – outer space itself.The echo of the great void,the eternal nothingness.
And so in great pain or happiness ,both of which I believe are the one and the same thing,we go and talk with the ocean – with no words or language that mere humans have conjured ,but with silence and a steady eye – like lovers do when words fall short.I still believe mankind has not invented the perfect language for either love or sunrises at ocean.
It’s a fleeting moment,the sunrise.The harbinger of hope and another chance to make things right in the world .A reminder to ourselves that each day we are running out of sunrises. I say this because almost everybody I know is eternally waiting for a golden time in future when they will live the life of their dreams and some heaven sent angel will endow happiness on them. They wait, couched with anticipation,putting up with the insipid existence of their daily routine.
Is the dead turtle moving? No,it’s just the waves trying to take it back but failing.
Here at the edge of the land mass ,there floats this primordial and ancient happiness that overwhelms us, as if the very first amphibian creature that crawled out of ocean into land were to feel happy about the world that is created for it. Blissfully happy and helpless at the same time,not able to convey it’s joy in any language known to time or man.And I admit too that only because I can’t have words to express what I feel, I take shameless refuge in golden light,birds,dead turtles and the waves.
Perhaps I will keep returning to solitary sunrises till I find the right words for them.
All things said and done ,the sun is properly shining now and the birds have abandoned the dead sea turtle.
A child , just arrived on the spectacle , keeps throwing a coconut shell into the water but the sea keeps returning it back to shore.Soon tired of it,the child gives up the effort and runs back to it’s mother in search of answers to the riddle.
Soumya D Jena
12th March 2017