I woke up this morning, feeling a dull pain in my neck. I could not describe it further. I could not reason what could have caused the pain. Anyway, I thought I had a sound sleep and so today would be good. I managed to say a few words of prayer which resembled those that I ritually spoke softly. “May God bless my soul. May heaven bless mother. Protect me, oh Lord. Amen”.

As always, I lingered out of bed. Uncomfortably, I wiped my eyes and dragged towards the window. There, I pulled at the fastener while pushing, almost at the same time. Then with a clunk, the window opened. This had become my daily routine. At once, I could not believe my experience as I stood gazing through the window, and as if it was waiting to greet me, a suiting breeze fanned across, cooling my face. I closed my eyes and wondered. What a comforting feeling?

For a moment, I could not open my eyes as I tried to enjoy the coolness I had found, in indulgence. Just then my nose caught the jasmine-scented freshness of the mist from the blue ocean coming from the distance. The ocean must be fresh, so I wished this could last forever. I briefly imagined riding effortlessly, above the slow waves at the distance. Then I thought I had a sonorous shrill. What? A swallow? I thought.

Eventually, when I opened my eyes, what a sight? I beheld the new horizon, so peaceful and friendly yet full of life. Though the swallow was not there, to my surprise, my neck pains were instantly gone. I then agreed it was a beautiful day at last. I could not resist thinking about the ocean for a moment, the feeling was so suiting, and it must be comforting too. I thought of the  inhabitants, the creatures, the plants and the beautiful flowers. I believed that they were the children of the sea. What a wonderful world theirs must be? What a hospitable sea? She must be a loving mother.

Mother would say “children arise, you are blessed today”. What, my daughter? What, the daughter of my womb? And what, the daughter of my oaths and vows? Where I stood, I thought I heard mother’s voice. Be prompt, never be late to school. It is virtuous my daughter. Small woman behave well all the days of their lives. I then remembered the ocean, what a great mother of the world? With many children to guide, many to suckle, many to feed and much more to provide for, she must be ever busy like mama. An industrious woman indeed. No doubt, oceans have qualities or natures, some that can be well-thought-out to be
typical of women or resembling the feminine world. For instance, in school, geography taught me that the five oceans and seven seas altogether constitute more than 70% of the earth’s surface. It is a case of water for life and life for water. Without this factor, the earth will dry up. The woman in the same vein, bears the ‘water of life’ in the womb for the baby to survive. Therefore, it will be wise to say that the oceans are to the earth what the womb is to the baby. Even, science affirms that life originated from the ocean. Can it not be that it will amount to gross chauvinism to deny the ocean of its enviable feminine glory? Although, many people have a somewhat simple idea of the ocean. However, a deeper look into the ocean will reveal a magnitude of richness and fertility which only have smallerscale versions in the female folks. Consequently, if fertility reflects feminine nature as
generally believed, it will be fair and appropriate to accord the oceans a non-masculine status – a real lady.

Furthermore, the ocean is not only like a lady but also beautiful and awesome like women. Structurally, the ocean waves, which curly and curvy provides a natural complexity and a spectacular sight to behold! This feature of an ocean can be likened to the woman’s hair which obviously beautifies and covers her otherwise baldness. The hair further adds peculiarity and attractiveness to complement the woman’s outlook, like the ocean waves. Not all, an ocean is a place of comfort, an attraction to the seeking multitudes. Thus many people hangout at the beach to savour the seaside comforts. This brings a sort of healing and satisfaction to the minds of beachgoers and seafarers. In consonance, the female is gentle, soft and curing. These bring people to her.

Some folks think that the ocean is wild and dangerous. Yes, but the ocean is also calm and beautiful at the same time. In spite of this, the oceans have become indispensable factors in maintaining a global equilibrium of resources and in preserving the atmosphere. It portrays a typical high level of maturity often seen in women to be able to maintain such a balance of
seemingly opposing attributes or attitudes. Only a woman can compare to the great oceans. Come to think of it. I am an African. I learnt from our mythology that there exists a goddess, Yemoja, who was said to have been born by an influential woman who was born of the ocean. She is said to be a major water deity from the Yoruba religion. She is an orisha (deity) and the mother of all orishas. The Yoruba folklore says she gave birth to the 14 Yoruba gods and goddesses.

Although, I learnt in French language that the word océan is masculine in nature. However, in some other languages like Nago, Igbo and India all natural things are considered to be feminine. Thus, it is more than convincing that the ocean can only be fittingly described as a woman.

While still being euphoric about the ocean, mother called again. “Shalom, will you not go to school? Remember, daughter, clean up. Meal will soon be ready”. Again, it flashed through my mind. The preacher said a virtuous woman is like the merchants' ships; she brings her food from afar. The preacher was right. What a distant reach? The ocean alone is perfectly fit for such a distant reach. Bringing stuffs for the people of the world from far and wide, it is difficult to deny that the ocean truly borne the earth in her bosom. I looked at mother, while still battling with the residual effects of my excitement. She smiled at me and said “How was your night?" However, I did not answer her for I was picturing within my mind, the radiance of the inward beauty she displayed. I thought, this was well complemented by the outward magnificence of her beauty, as I wondered if she could be like this forever, like the ocean-woman. Then her beauty will compare with the ocean. I was so scared because I had to contend with the idea that mother was less female than the ocean but I let it go. Notwithstanding, she is my mother and the ocean my female friend. Their attractiveness wears not and to me, I see a seamless match and an indispensable duo.

Like a beautiful and wonderful chameleon, the ocean is ever adapting to environmental situations by adjusting its colours, waves, tides and components. Just like my hardworking mother, now and then, the ocean changes its life forms, it cleans itself of
pollutions to satisfy the daily need of its “children”.

Though the world subsist on the ocean, I wished I could make my abode in the ocean. Since I could not, I would rather wake up each morning to behold the wonderful ocean. Its unimaginable beauty, and magnitude would always compel me. Therefore, treat her like a lady, the ocean is a woman. This is no fantasy, it has become a reality in me. Thus, every morning as I gratefully open my window, with the breeze comes, the ocean fresh fragrance, she was always there to greet me “How was your night?” I remembered, only mother would do. Thank God for the seas and oceans. Help save the ocean now. It is our life!


Akinwonmi AyoOluwa Shalom

Category Children

14 years

FUTA Staff Secondary School, Akure, Ondo State