Mar de fondo

The sea is rough today, long low waves rolling in rapidly from far to the east. This is what we call here mar de fondo, which I just now learned is the literal meaning of "ground swell" -- "an undulation of the ocean with deep rolling waves, often caused by a distant storm or earthquake" (American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, my 1976 edition). Except that it is the sea, not the ocean, that is making all that noise outside my window and sending up its spume to sparkle in the sun. (The ancients knew that great Oceanus surrounds Terra the Earth, whereas the sea outside my window is the "Mediterranean," that is, surrounded by Terra.)

This morning I watched a sturdy, stubborn little boat force its way, churn by churn, to cut across those waves, the white spume rising like a burnoose over its prow, its hull buffeted left and right, port and starboard. Despite the wind and waves in opposition, it moved steadily and rapidly on its course, an unusually powerful little boat with a tall antenna and, as I saw through binoculars, a large thing on it prow that I took for another antenna, or perhap a gun -- it was too far for me tell its colors, and too obscured by its movement and the spray, to be sure that it was Guardia Civil. But whether it was military or not, and whatever its mission, I took pride in its determination, projecting myself into its tense and muscular movement, becoming that boat. Keeping my course and churning through waves and spray.

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