A mother tells her child a story about his father, the ocean

Your Father’s Song

Be still, my child. Be still and listen to the lullaby your father sings for you. Listen closely. Can you hear? The gentle lapping of the waves upon the shore. His voice is there, in the deep. His message of love for you.

Listen. I will tell you, he is not gone.Your father is here, my child, my love. He is here with us right now, upon this darkened shore. Do you see the glints of light upon the water? How they dance upon the waves like splinters of fallen stars? Those are your father’s eyes, watching to make sure you are safe.

Feel the water, here. Do you feel the bubbles as they dance between your fingers? That is your father’s hand reaching out for yours. His promise that he is always here and ready to embrace you. You will never be alone or without him, my child. Can you feel him?

He washed upon the shore one night, a blacker night than this. The storms brought him here to me. The land gave him form to walk upright and be seen amongst men. The sea made flesh, encircled and contained, but only for the passage of a season. He is not a man as you will come to know men to be. He is and always will be a creature of the mighty and terrible sea.

The others in the village thought him nothing more than a shipwrecked sailor. Dismissed, they called him crazy; sun struck and mad from thirst. They did not try to understand. Such is the way of the people of the land; hard and unyielding. Hush now and still. Do not think I condemn, nor do I wish you to look down upon them for their weaknesses. They are, as all creatures, nothing more than mere echo of that which gives them breath.

Never forget, my child, for as much as you are water, the land, too, lives on in you.

Perhaps their blindness was a gift, enabling me to see. For daring to look closer, I saw the storms and stars reflected in his gray eyes. I heard the water in his voice. I felt the embrace of the sea.

Even as I grew to love him, I knew he was never mine to keep. He could not stay. The ocean cannot abide in one place for long. Its nature is a thing of motion, constantly reaching, exploring, expanding. It can brush against the land, a quick caress but nothing more. Such was the time your father and I shared. Moments stolen from the vaults of time and secreted away; land and sea mixing and embracing, entwined.

Promises of fidelity and to be forever by my side he could not give. They were never his to offer. But he did not leave me empty. Instead, he gave me you. You are a token of himself; a gift left as a seashell upon the shore. I hear him in your voice. I see him in your eyes. The salt of the sea is the salt of your blood. You are the very best of him, our precious one.

Though you are but still a babe, the restlessness in your storm-gray eyes promise one day I will have to give you to the sea. You will follow his ways and touch distant shores that I will never see or know. I only pray when that day comes, I will be strong enough to entrust you fully to your father’s care. I only ask you take care to remember me; here upon the earthen shore and to return to me when you can.

But for a while yet, be still here within my arms, and listen to your father’s song.

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