I wrote last week about my love for Black Lake, Michigan as a place of comfort and respite. For the last week I have been in Florida visiting my parents on the east coast of that state, right on the ocean. The ocean is quite different from a lake and I have never spent a lot of time at the ocean but after being next to it since Sunday I have concluded I am a lake kind of guy rather than a ocean person.
I find the ocean unsettling and disquieting. Unlike the lake I am familiar with where I can see the other side, the ocean seems endless and vast. Rather than the (usually) gentle and welcoming lake, the ocean seems angry and disrupted. Knowing that the ocean goes on and on over the horizon is not comforting to me at all. Perhaps it is a symptom of growing up going to a lake rather than growing up near the ocean. Certainly not being a swimmer has something to do with it.
While I understand intellectually that the ocean is finite, it certainly doesn't seem that way when standing on the shore. Vast and endless it seems to be, a threatening barrier rather than a welcoming source of recreation. It is mind-boggling to me that men in ages past, before GPS and modern navigation not to mention weather forecasting, would set out from the shore and into what is largely the unknown. Of course the ocean also has all manner of fauna that can sting or kill you, a far cry from lake minnows that nibble on your toes.
As I head home from sunny (although kind of chilly today) Florida to my frozen home state of Indiana I look forward to warmer weather and visits to Black Lake. You can keep the ocean, I will take the lake any day of the week.