This is a response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: Learning.

The sea talks to me. This is what it says.

You can’t see what is beneath the surface, but come in anyway. Trust yourself to enjoy or endure what you find, maybe an oyster pearl or a jagged coral that slices your foot open. Joy or pain, you will swim back to shore.

Look around. See my vastness and recognize how big I am, nearly covering Earth with a fluid global presence. You are unique and important but only one drop of water, more useful to the whole than to yourself. Try to learn this early, before you evaporate.

Help people float. Not everyone knows how. When others rise, their ascension doesn’t preclude your own. Resist that seductive threat. No one is meant to sink and if they do, someone hid their life jacket or simply swam away. Be a lifeguard and when you forget to float, you will find a buoy near.

Be patient. Many keep their distance, looking at me from the sand. Some are curious for minutes, even years. Don’t force anyone’s timing. The more I nip at their heels, the faster they run away. Some are afraid and others not interested. Accept this and appreciate those who reach for you, quickly or cautiously. Either way, you earn trust, the most elusive and valuable gift.

Be mindful of the pebbles you toss from your mouth. Words ripple outward like invisible stones skipping along my surface, you can’t see how far.

Make plans, yes, but bend and swirl like I do over rocks. Check the weather, chart your course, choose wisely but don’t fight the current. Swim against it and drown.

If you feel small and defeated, remember Neptune only ruled rivers before he was King of the Sea. Dream big. Anything can happen.

Ride waves, soar on the glorious wings you discovered when you risked everything and stood up on your board. Enter the tunnel with your eyes open and lean in. Expect to emerge. Upright or knocked over, you’re on the other side.

Don’t go looking for storms. Enough will find you and batter you to the ocean floor. Be calm and hold your breath. Feel fear but do not flail about and choke on anger. Keep your face to the light and you will find the way up.

When you are missing someone, come to me.  Be still and listen to my ocean sounds, Mother Nature’s lullaby. Do you see how I roll out to the horizon? I reach further than that, beyond what you can see. This is how long your lost loved one will be with you, infinitely.

If nothing else, learn this from me: make a splash, as often as you can. Don’t worry about getting others wet. Everyone needs hydration.