7. Oceans

Every now and then, the ocean draws me back to its very soul and I am reminded all over again why I had fallen in love with the seas in the first place. I feel, right now, embraced by the deep blue depths that both hide and reveal some of the greatest mysteries and wonders of this earth. What wondrous creatures lie below the waves most of us can only guess.

On days like today, all I want to do is run away to the edge of the ocean and never look back. I want to get scuba certified, which is something I have been dying to do for years now. I want to explore the sea and all its creatures. I want to spend my time below the waters’ edge, spending my time among the darting fish, silent gliding sharks, softly flowing kelp forests, and the vast array of strange and alien invertebrates that populate everywhere from the surface down to the ocean floor. I want to watch and observe in the stillness of movement from the invisible currents flowing past as animals go about their purposes in the ways they have evolved to perform.

There are days where I question my life’s choices that have led me to law school. Yes, my whole reason for being here is to save the oceans. My goal in life is to work on ocean conservation. I chose law school because lawyers are powerful; they can enact great amounts of changes and can influence issues far down the road and into the future. I want to be able to influence and make such changes for good. The oceans need protection from enemies on all sides and from indifferent parties who don’t know what harms they are causing through their indifference.

At the same time, by saving the seas from afar, I’m denying myself the opportunity to get to experience their vastness for myself. I thus far haven’t gotten the opportunity to get to explore even just the seaside for more than a few stolen weeks at a time.

I guess one of my goals over the next few years should be to figure out how to incorporate the actual oceans and their creatures into my life other than just reading about them and filling my apartment with shark posters and octopus salt and pepper shakers. How do you fit the whole ocean in? I already feel that I’m juggling so much at my baseload capacity that adding any interest or passion on top of it all simply seems suicidal.

At the same time, I can see a life full of the oceans. I just don’t know how to make that possible right now. I should clarify: I don’t know how to make an ocean-filled life possible right now while at the same time keep the rest of my life somehow balanced with all that I’m already trying to fit in.

Did you know certain jellyfish can rejuvenate in a sort of immortality? Did you know that sharks can’t develop cancer? Did you know that giant squid can only surface in colder waters, because otherwise they’ll suffocate? There are so many more mysteries to the oceans than just these. I want to be able to explore those mysteries for myself.

I did apply at one point for a position as an aquarist. Just to be around marine creatures every day, up close and in person, would be a dream come true. Sometimes I still think about that. I do have a bachelor’s degree in biology. What if, after law school, I apply for a master’s program in marine biology? Where would that put me, other than in a lot more student loan debt? What would that entail for my future and my life? On the other hand, how could I instead directly incorporate the oceans or marine life into my life without dropping everything I’ve lined up so carefully? Could I just travel to the ocean on diving trips once a year? What other options are out there for me to explore?

The deep blue-green soul of the world is mesmerizing. It’s captivating. There is so much wonder to be found as long as we humans don’t end up killing it all. We are well on the way to doing so, unfortunately. Between ocean acidification and warming and vast amounts of overfishing and polluting, we are already doing immense amounts of harm that are leading to almost-imminent desertification of the oceans. I think one of the main reasons for such harm is that it is very difficult to educate people on what harms their actions are directly causing. Because ocean ecosystems are all hidden below glassy, mirrored surfaces, they – and everything that impacts them – are hidden from the general public.

If we can just show humanity what beauty lies in the sea, I think we can make a world of difference. The ocean is now calling to everyone, individually and collectively, to see it and to save it.

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