"A sense of place is the sixth sense, an internal compass and map made by memory and spatial perception together.” —Rebecca Solnit
The Ocean State, Rhode Island
When I was little my mom would put me to sleep and read me my favorite book, The Big Big Sea. The girl on the cover of the book had the same blonde hair and bangs that I had when I was younger, and she stood on a beach at night with the big full moon behind her, holding her mother’s hand. The little girl’s mom wakes her up in the middle of the night so that the two of them can go to the beach, and as a five year old, this seemed like the greatest thing in the world. To me, having my mom read me this book every night marked the beginning of what would be a life-long, wonderful relationship with the ocean.
I’ve lived in the Ocean State all my life, so I have very few memories that do not have to do with the ocean. It is the one true thing that defines not only my hometown or my state but also me. The water brings us all together in more than one-way. We venture to the beach on a beautiful summer day to lie in the sun, and we sit on our fishing boats and pull up the traps of lobsters we will sell to our fish store, and we make picnics with our families for late night dinners on the beach. Somewhere the ocean is always there.
It doesn’t matter that we live in the smallest state where driving 25 minutes is considered far for us. And we don’t mind when people don’t actually know where Rhode Island is because we know it’s the greatest place on earth. There’s something truly magical about being connected to one of the earth’s most magnificent wonders such as the ocean, and I truly believe that it is a rare occurrence for a person to have such a relationship with a body of water. But for us citizen’s of the ocean state, it’spossible. Once you’ve lived in Rhode Island, it’s hard to get the smell of salt water out of your head, but we love that.