NPR aired two stories last week, one on coastal erosion in Louisiana, and one on global warming in Alaska. In Southern Louisiana, a football field of land disappears under water every half hour or so. Meanwhile people in Alaska fall through ice while crossing frozen water in the dead of winter because the water doesn’t freeze as deeply these days.
As I heard these stories, I imagined the ocean slowly creeping up to cover the earth from all sides, silently and undramatically. I remembered what it is to stand on a shore and look out onto a huge, breathing mass of saltwater. It touches every human sense, the smell and taste of salt in the air, the feeling on the skin, its rhythmic swelling roar. I looked outside at my landlocked existence and found a certain peace in the thought of water covering all the places I have lived and cared about. What if every place I have walked and slept, everywhere I play out the drama of day to day life and everything that I let myself believe is important, slipped back into the ocean? Wouldn’t it be like some primordial force rolling furtively up to our collective feet, whispering, don’t you remember where you came from?