The Tale of the Sea Wave
The sea wave knew what happened to sea waves in the end.
This was the fate of all waves that ever tumbled across the ocean’s vast, grand surface. Including him.
When he had been just a little wavelet far out at sea, he had heard the stories, the rumors, the old wave’s tales. There was something called the shore. Or so everyone said. The shore was the destroyer of waves, of large waves and small, of frothy waves and gentle waves alike. No wave survived an encounter with this thing called the shore.
One fact was certain. Once any wave rolled off past the horizon, it was never seen again. Yes, waves disappeared all right.
The sea wave also recognized, of course, that he was a wave of no special significance. Or so everyone said. No one and nothing was likely to much care when he washed up against some face of rock or shallow of sand ashore – simply one of many, one of uncounted millions to appear on the broad ocean for a moment before vanishing forever.
But he cared, yes, the insignificant sea wave cared. How was it possible any wave simply could cease to exist? What would the end be like? How long would it take? Was it going to hurt? Most of all, what would become of him … you know, afterwards.
These were big questions to ponder, especially for a wave so insignificant as him.
For the first time in his undulating and unimportant life, the sea wave wanted something more. Wanted to understand why he had come and where he would go.
The sea wave’s troubled pondering rolled onward with him hour upon hour as he rolled and rolled onward far past the sea’s horizon. Until his pondering rolled him to a thought he had never pondered before: The sea wave realized there was something all around him and all under him and all within him too. It was everywhere.
It was water.
And so was he.
He was not just a single small wave undulating upon the surface of the sea. He was the sea and the sea was the water and the water was always.
And so was he.
Waves had come and had gone. He had come and would go. Other waves large and small, frothy and gentle alike would do the same, each swirling into watery existence from the vast, grand surface of the ocean. Each a singular wave yet each wave one part of the vast and the grand that was everywhere, everywhere.
And as he pondered all of this, the small sea wave rolled on now, rolled on joyfully somehow across the vast, grand surface of the ocean. The sea wave simply rolled on.
Moral: When we recognize ourselves as one part of a larger whole, our existence gains significance.
With appreciation to Thich Nhat Hanh: “Enlightenment, for a wave in the ocean, is the moment the wave realizes it is water.”