A Myth About Waves

January 6, 2013
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Tides and waves are a curious thing. When that wave slams upon the beach, or smashes against a rock, there is a brief interaction. It's quick, it's violent, it's relentless.

And it's no accident. There is a reason and a story.

Long ago, when there was nothing green and no animals on the earth, Land and Sea decided to have children to populate their bare, gloomy world. They were a good match for each other, and soon Land gave birth to many children. Now, although Land wanted children every bit as much as Sea did, she wanted a specific type. She wanted to look up and see beauty, to look and see children that were clearly hers. Sea wasn't as picky; as long as they were children he knew he would be happy. Alas for Land, the children she bore did not resemble her at all. They were slimy and mossy with fins and tails. They did not roam gracefully across the land as she had hoped; they instead slithered clumsily and rolled as best they could. It was clear they belonged in water. This was a problem.

Sea suggested the children simply reside with him. Land refused this offer and told her husband that her children would live with her where she could see them. Sea pointed out that he wanted the same, but Land ignored him as usual. So the ugly, clumsy monster children stayed with Land.

Sea was not happy about this, but he did not complain. Maybe I will get the next children, he told himself. Another group of children was on the way, and, in fact, arrived that afternoon. These children were beautiful. They danced, they grazed, they flew and they ran. They had soft coats and sharp teeth, made loud roars and piercing chirps.

Land and Sea loved these new children, and for a while rejoiced in their newly populated home. Land make plants rise from the ground to feed her children and Sea splashed special water ashore to drink. They lived in perfect harmony. For a while, Land was happy. She tended to overlook her uglier children, but after some time she couldn't help noticing them. They were monsters. They defiled the beauty of the earth. Their very existence made Land angry. For a while, she ignored these feelings, but finally, when she couldn't stand it any longer, she formulated a plan.

The sea children needed a special diet, which she had always provided without a thought. But on that specific day, when the food rose from the ground, she made sure it was infected with poison. The good children, of course, were not affected because they did not eat any. But the ugly ones innocently ate, then began flailing about in agony as the poison set.

Land sat back to watch, pleased with herself.

Sea had noticed Land's contempt for the first batch of children, but had not mentioned anything. But when he saw his children dying in droves, her knew exactly what happened. Sea let out a great roar and swept over Land. He pulled all of his children in his mighty arms, and brought them into the ocean. Most sank, having died before Sea could help. But a few, he managed to heal. Those stayed with Sea, and he devised his own system of feeding them. They swam and flipped, twirled and splashed for the pure joy of being in their natural home. Sea was pleased, but he was also angry. So many of his rejected children had died at the hands of their mother. From a lonely distance, Sea watched the accepted children live, and soon became upset at their existence. They were living while his own were dead. His anger built, until one day, Bang! Sea slammed a mighty fist upon the beach. It felt good, so he did it again. When Land protested that it hurt, Sea only replied,

"You have hurt me by killing my children. This is a good reminder for you." Sea continued to rattle Land. He told himself fiercely, "She must pay. My children did nothing to her and she murdered them. She. Must. Pay."

So whenever a land animal came too close, Sea snatched it away as revenge. And he relentlessly slammed upon the shore with all the strength of his love and grief. Sea silently said an oath. He promised himself that he would only stop pounding the beach when he stopped grieving for his dead children.

He hasn't so far. And it's been a long time.

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