After a powerful storm, the narrator’s relationship with the ocean is forever changed.
Our house in Florida was situated right next to the ocean. There was a big deck, and I liked to stand on it and watch the waves, and whenever I went outside, the salty wind made my hair stick together. At a corner of the deck was a long flight of stairs that led directly to the shore.
In the beginning the ocean did not frighten me. What place could be more wonderful than the beach? I loved to find shells, and build sandcastles, and soak my feet in the ocean, laughing while I played. But something happened that made me understand the ocean better.
The first storm we encountered was in November. The rain poured down all day long. That night, there was a power outage. I was terrified by the dark.
A day later, the wind and waves rose so that we could not go outside. Mother completely refused to let anyone go outside.
But I, seized by some imaginary power, had to go and watch the waves. I walked to the deck and regretted my decision. It was terrifying! The water reached six meters farther than usual days—and the noise! The waves crashed and tumbled. They beat the stairs connecting the deck and the beach without a hint of mercy. I did not get wet. The deck was high enough for that. But the fear that the waves struck in me! The water hit the rough rocks near the stairs, and water poured out of the rocks in waterfalls. The tiny streams running along the sand were long ribbons of white sticky silk. Then—oh!—a huge wave rose up and pounced on the stairs. It buried the rocks in matcha-green foam, and for the first time I felt the power of the ocean. I could imagine an earthquake rumbling in the deepest parts of the sea, the cresting and crashing waves, and how they vowed to destroy anything blocking their path with tenacious efforts! And yet, this incident filled me more with wonder than with fear, and I saw another face of the ocean.
What did it matter that the wind whizzed and swirled furiously around me? What did it matter that my hands, legs, and feet were numb with cold?1 What did it matter that my face was red and nearly frozen? I was awestruck, and paralyzed with the realization of the magnificence of the ocean.
1 I had put on a jacket, but I had forgotten to wear long pants and shoes.