"I know a cure for everything. Salt water."
"Yes," he said, "in one way or another. Sweat, or tears, or the salt sea."
—Seven Gothic Tales
I swear the ocean here smells different than back home. It carries with it a certain nostalgia, but a newer, fresher kind. It doesn't remind me of my childhood, but of four years ago, when I first moved into my dorm at FT. I remember inhaling deeply in the cold, dewy mornings and feeling the frigid air fill my lungs, shortening breaths. But I liked that salty sting of the air in the back of my throat, I loved how it was almost difficult to breathe in because of how cool and pure it was.
The smell of the ocean keeps me grounded, anchored to my roots, to that first moment standing in the hallway of San Cat South, seeing the sunlight stream in and watching people move around, orienting themselves in a new world. Seeing the faces of the first people I'd know as a college student, seeing the tiny room that would be my home for nine months. It makes me think of a time in my life where everything around me was brand new and Santa Barbara was the lovely oyster in which I would spend the next chapter of my life. Now that chapter is closing, and I have the most mixed feelings.
Salt water, in its purest form, is cleansing, but still it leaves behind traces. It makes way for better things, whether it be the burn of your muscles after a workout or the first shaky breath after you finish crying. A rising tide, to new beginnings. It's this little circle of life, this constant motion, that brings me back to freshman year, just as I am ready to leave it all behind.