"A sense of place is the sixth sense, an internal compass and map made by memory and spatial perception together.” —Rebecca Solnit
The grass just ends. There is no warning or decline in elevation. Acres of sprawling green grass just end in a drop off at the sea wall. Standing at the edge of the water I can smell the salt in the air and the distinct fishy smell that the ocean has. It is as if I’m breathing in the ocean, allowing it to take over my body and calm all of my senses. If I look directly down into the water I can see abandoned lacrosse balls and Frisbees tangled in the seaweed. When the tide is low enough I can see seashells shimmering in the new light of the day and fiddler crabs coming out of their holes looking for breakfast, their huge claw seeming to make them unbalanced on one side. Looking out over the harbor, the orange light of the sunrise is reflecting in the huge bay windows of the mansions that hang over the water. The mist is rising up around the masts of the tall sailboats, making them seem almost ghost like. I can hear fish jumping out of the water as the harbormaster steers his small dingy through the canal, the tall ships seeming to take over his boat, just because of the difference in their size. As the breeze picks up and the green leaves in the trees rustle, I pull my sweatshirt closer around me and shuffle my feet a little bit, watching the pebbles fall into the water. Although the day is cold at five in the morning, I know that in seven hours I will be in this exact spot with my best friends, laying on a huge towel baking in the hot sun. The scent of the ocean will be mixed with sunscreen and sweat and the sounds of fish jumping and the boats’ engines will be replaced with country music coming from an iPod somewhere in the distance. My tranquil paradise will be turned into something louder and brighter, but it will still be my paradise, because whenever I’m at the sea wall, I am home.