The Ocean Doesn’t Care


“It doesn’t matter if you go to the ocean to fill up a thimble or a bucket, the ocean doesn’t care”
- Wayne Dyer

There is no better place to ask questions than beside the ocean.

Because the ocean doesn’t care.

You can wade into the ocean fat and white, with puckered thighs and dimpled cheeks.  You can lounge on its sandy shores, bronzed and lean and strong.

The ocean doesn’t care.

You may race into the surf with the reckless abandonment of youth, or tip toe along the barely wet outer limits with the deliberateness of age.  The waves will pound and ebb regardless.

The ocean doesn’t care.

The ocean just is.  At 3 in the morning you can hear the same melodic whoooosh that was playing at 3 in the afternoon.  It plays whether you listen or not.  It plays not for an audience, but because it is the ocean.

The ocean can cool you or soothe you or kill you.  Each possibility is always there, whether you swim into it or not.  It’s not personal, it is simply what the ocean does.


The ocean is at once constant and changing.  Living and non thinking.  It churns and spins without your hand, without your guidance, without your watchful eye.

You can stand at the ocean an utter mess, and it will continue to roll regardless.

The ocean will wait for you, because the ocean doesn’t care.

This is a safe place to ask your questions.  It’s a safe place to air your doubts and let the questions percolate and and bounce and taunt and bloom.  Questions have no power over the ocean, and the ocean doesn’t bother to offer answers.  You look up from your belly button, and there is the ocean still.  Rolling and crashing, ebbing and flowing, exactly the same as it was before you, just as it will after you.

Mercifully, the ocean doesn’t care.

I sat with the ocean this weekend and let the questions roll in time with the surf.

Back and forth, stronger and then weaker.  The sun rose and set, the light waxing and waning as the days slipped by, and always there was the ocean.



I gave my questions legs, and then walked along the beach with them.  And I wasn’t afraid, because the ocean remained the same.

And finally, I found my center.

There, in my center, is where I hold hope.  There is where I am not too weak to wait for him, knowing I will survive if he never arrives.  There I have the strength to love him and myself, without fear or shame or guilt.

There, in my center, is where I hold love.  And patience.  And strength.  And understanding.

There, in my center, is where I hold faith.  The years will come and the stories will unfold.  The path will continue to unfurl at my feet, and I will keep walking as it does.  And always, the ocean will be there.

I packed up my things yesterday, loading my books and my clothes back into the suitcase I’d hauled them out of two days earlier.  I filled the trunk of my car and signed my name on the hotel receipt.  I tossed the parking permit on the floor beneath my front seat and turned towards home, putting the ocean behind me.  I whispered goodbye in my rearview mirror.

And the ocean didn’t care.


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  1. avitable says:

    It’s funny, because I see the ocean as constantly changing, eroding some areas, shoring up others – a landscape that is different from second to second and place to place. And it’s all because of that fucking moon.

  2. Maria says:

    Beautiful, Britt.

    I nodded along as I read this. Being on the beach or out at sea or even beside a river makes me feel crazily connected to something much bigger than myself. I don’t always feel grounded, exactly, but I feel something.

    Been thinking of you lots.

  3. I’m glad you’re finding what you need.

  4. Robin says:

    Are those your pictures? They are great. One of the things I love most about living by a lake is how much peace it brings me, I really need to spend more time by myself just sitting by the lake.

  5. Hilly says:

    I love this post.

    The ocean is probably one of my three favorite things in the whole wide world. In it, I can find my center, my calm and the peacefulness that I need.

    I love knowing that it will always be there.

  6. Kristin says:

    I’m so glad you were able to spend some time with the ocean this weekend. I was going to call you but remembered that you were out. Hopefully you were able to relax and have some you time.


  7. Finn says:

    I’m so glad you did this, and that you found your center again.

    A lovely piece of writing, this.

  8. greg t says:

    NOW you see why I have a boat. You think sitting on the beach is great. Go out and shut the boat off and just drift for a few hours. Wonderful things can happen. OH yeh Ah check the weather first.

  9. no fair – closest thing we have is dirty ol’ lake erie.
    hugs to you, dear friend.

  10. Bre says:

    Now I’m going to have to shave my legs because I have goosebumps!
    On a more serious note, I think your words flow like warm syrup on pancakes. Brava!

  11. Kris says:

    Not only does it not care, but it washes away the crazy feeling we all get when we need to find our center.

    I’m glad you’re finding time for you.

  12. B.E. Earl says:

    Some see turmoil in the ocean. The tides, the waves, the unexpected. But I’ve always been able to find the calm in sitting on the edge of the water. Generally the calm within myself.

    Then I like to listen to “Sea and Sand” by The Who off of Quadrophenia. It all makes sense then.

  13. muskrat says:

    Crystal meth doesn’t care either.

  14. sizzle says:

    I always go to the ocean when I need to center myself. There is absolutely nothing like it.

  15. Tammy says:

    Beautiful post! I am a lurker who enjoys your site. You said exactly how the ocean makes me feel and reminded me that I need a visit.

  16. lceel says:

    Good. Very good. I’m so glad to see you found a way to get to your center. And having found it – a certain measure of peace.

    And if you CAN see your bellybutton, you ain’t got nuthin’ to worry about.

  17. Aunt Becky says:

    Floating away. Lovely.

  18. Kelly says:

    Damn… I need to be near water. I rarely regret leaving NYC, except for times like now, where the calm of the water, the constancy of the waves, and the amazing peace it gives me are so desperately needed. Lakes are great, but they’re not the ocean.

    I’m glad you were able to find your center – and that you were able to ask and answer some of your questions.

  19. Dawn says:

    Oh my dear girl, don’t you ever dare doubt your writing skills again, y’hear?

  20. Faiqa says:

    Ahhh, that was an amazing piece of writing. And, I spent MANY evenings gazing out at that ocean and asking questions. You’re right, it doesn’t care and in so many ways that’s absolutely… relieving.

  21. Poppy says:

    I was having a very different ocean experience this weekend.

    I was with the love of my life, but I was crying about DJ. Such is life.

  22. Tonz says:

    The ocean has always been a special place for me. About 10 years ago when I was living closer to home, my sister would come and pick me up when things were tough and we’d go down to the ocean…it was normally around 10 at night. We’d walked along talking and singing. When I go there now I always feel a calm come over me. So I did cry when I read this because I think I miss home and the calm at the moment.

  23. this was lovely, britt. seriously a fantastic post. actually i thought while reading the beginning that this was something previously published.

  24. also, you reminded me of one of my favorite quotes that i may have previously written here:

    “the cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears or the sea.”
    - isak dinesen

  25. Sybil Law says:

    Love the ocean. Glad you found your center. Unlike the ocean, I do care. :)

  26. This is just beautiful.

    You reminded me how much I miss the ocean. I haven’t been away from water for this long in a very long time, and it’s like something is missing.

  27. vanessa says:

    i know exactly what you’re talking about.
    my heart is always with the ocean.

  28. Lauren says:

    Great post!! You have expressed your thoughts beautifully!

  29. Share says:

    Beautifully written! I am glad you found your center!

  30. Vic says:

    Absolutely beautiful.

  31. Winter says:

    Beautifully written, as always

  32. I love this post, probably because the ocean is where I feel safest. I hope that you continue to be able to explore yourself and ask those questions while feeling safe doing so. *hugs*

  33. blues says:

    Don’t have much to say really. Just loved this.

  34. perpstu says:

    I could have written this myself. I’m so glad you found your center. Whenever I find myself tipping over the edge, desperate and feeling alone, the ocean is where I want to be. It’s the only place I feel like I can really breathe.

  35. The ocean doesn’t care and that’s why it is my center and why I will never ever live in a place where I can not be at the water’s edge within moments.

  36. martymankins says:

    I love this post. And it’s so true… having lived by the ocean before (near Newport Beach, CA), I can attest that the ocean is a calming source of greatness to help ease the edge off of life.

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