He walked leisurely down the beach, uncaring of the sand catching on his socks and trousers, and filling his shoes. He stared at his path before him, but his eyes were blind to his steps. He walked aimlessly; and if he were to reach an obstacle, he would merely turn and retrace his steps again.
The ocean roared beside him, a calming noise easily ignored even as it demanded his attention. Water would occasionally lap at his feet; but the gentle waves normally stayed back, exhausting their momentum trying to reach the rocks beyond him. A breeze blew in from the water, and he shivered slightly, pushing his hands into the pockets of his coat in lieu of gloves.
With each step he took, the moon rose higher. It was but a sliver in the sky, but still enough to glint on the waves. Soon, each stepped splashed in water, and his shoes were sodden as his path was finally cut off by the tide. The crash of the waves was closer, and louder – its goal in reaching the rocks nearly attained.
He watched the ripples and eddies of water around his feet for a moment, feeling the sand eroding beneath him as the water pulled out each time. He was unmoving, but the water was relentless – determined to pull him out into it, into the unknown. He turned to look out over the water, watching the waves rise and fall and come rolling into shore.
It was ever changing and inevitable. Nothing was static within its embrace – all was destined to be reshaped and reformed. The rocks behind him once reached out farther, but the ocean had hurled itself at them until it wore them down – slowly but surely – and now it tried again. The world turned, and the waters shifted, always moving – never remaining in one place.
The waters were the same. More depended upon them, but the molecules and the essence was the same as it had been since the very beginning. The waters that had first rolled over the lands still crashed against the solid world – it rose and it fells and it continued life. It was deep and nearly unfathomable – untouchable in a fantastical, inexplicable way.
He breathed in deeply, closing his eyes and hearing on the ocean. There used to be a road that ran behind him; the sounds of vehicles used to meld with the sound of the ocean. It was silent now – the pavement overgrown and abandoned. The sea was still there, but there was no one to look upon it now.
Life had gone on. Men had lived and died on the land behind him, building cities and tearing them down. Sowing and reaping had been cycling through as far back as history stretched, a constant. Civilisation progressed and machines were invented to unbow men's backs, but their time was merely taken up with other forms of work. With ever new invention they created, more work followed of a different or recurring sort.
He opened his eyes and looked down as the water splashed higher on his shins, being soaked up in the cloth of his trousers. The more things changed, the more they were the same. The land was torn apart by cities and plantations, washed away in floods and broken by earthquakes – but it was still there.
Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean – roll!
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain;
Man marks earth with ruin – his control
Stops with the shore; – upon the watery plain
The wreck are all thy deed, nor doth remain
A shadow of man's ravage, save his own,
When, for a moment, like a drop of rain,
He sinks into they depths with a bubbling groan,
Without a grave, unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown.
AN: Inspired by Lord Bryon's poem Apostrophe to the Ocean, which is included at the end.