Once upon a time, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, a long, long way from the shore, on a very still day, while the sun was shining with all its might, there appeared a wave.
Why did the wave appear right then and there? Well I don’t know, to be honest. I’m not an expert on waves. I’m not a waveologist. I’m not even sure waveologist a real word.
All you need to know right now is that a wave did appear, quite suddenly and out of the blue.
What did the wave do? Well from what I heard (I wasn’t there), the first thing the wave did was stick up its head and look around.
“Hmmm, where am I?” it asked to no-one in particular because, well, there was no-one to ask.
Everywhere the wave looked, all it could see was blue. Blue, blue, blue. Blue up above, blue down below, blue as far as it could see.
“I’m must be in the middle of the blue,” the wave decided, quite correctly.
“Now that I’ve decided where I am,” the wave concluded “I guess I should also figure out what I am.”
This turned out to be a much harder problem. When the wave looked down at its body, it realized that it, also, was blue, just like the blue it could see up and down and sideways. After much consideration, the wave decided that even though it was blue, just as everything else was blue, that it must be different somehow from the rest of the blue because it was standing up above the rest of the blue.
“I am a wave!”, the wave decided. This was a pretty impressive leap of logic, I must say. “I am a wave and I’m pretty special,” the wave declared to nobody in particular.
Just at that moment, a great wind started to blow behind the wave, and it gathered a little more energy and grew a little larger. “Wow,” the wave thought to itself. “Did you see what I just did? I made myself larger and faster!” As the wave couldn’t see the wind, it didn’t realise that it had nothing to do with the new burst of energy. Neither did it stop to wonder how it became stronger and faster – this was too complex for a young wave to think about. It just decided that it did these things itself. That was the simplest answer, even though it didn’t stand up to much inquiry. Waves, after all, aren’t known for their big IQ.
“I am a most excellent wave,” said the wave out loud to itself.
After a few minutes of surfing and waving, the wave became a little bored out there in the great blue by itself. Fortunately, at that exact moment, another wave suddenly appeared beside it!
“Well hello, new wave!”, said the wave.
“Ummm hi,” replied the new wave. “Where am I?”
“You’re in the blue,” replied the wave.
“Oh I see,” said the new wave. “And what am I?”
“You are a wave, just like me,” answered the first wave.
“A wave?” asked the new wave. “What does a wave do?”
“Oh well, we can do all sorts of amazing things,” the first wave assured the new wave. Fortunately, at that exact moment, another great wind blew up behind the first wave and made it larger and faster.
“See what I just did?”, the first wave asked the new wave. “I’m sure that’s just a small part of what we can do.”
As the wind was behind both of them, the new wave also grew faster and larger at the same time.
“You do learn quickly!” the first wave congratulated the new wave.
And from that moment on, the two waves became the very best of friends, because what waves like more than anything is to be complimented.
The waves spent the next few minutes rolling and waving and surfing and having a great old time. As a few minutes is actually close to the lifetime of a wave, it seemed to them like they had been together for a very, very long time, out there in the great blue (time, after all, is relative). During this relative very, very long time, they had concluded that waves were, in fact, the most special thing in the entire blue. They decided that the entire blue had been created by the wave god just for them. They also decided that the wave god loved them so much that it gave them the ability to think and act independently of the rest of the blue – the waves called this “free will”.
As they approached the shore, an old, mighty, white albatross soared above them. “Hello white flying thing!” the waves shouted in unison. “What are you?”
“I am an albatross,” replied the albatross, quite appropriately, for it was indeed an albatross.
“Okay then, albatross. We are very pleased to meet you,” responded the waves. “We are waves and we have been out here alone together for many, many years, so you know, it’s good to meet something else.”
“Oh my,” said the albatross. “I have been watching you from the shore and I can assure you that you only appeared in the ocean a few minutes ago.”
“The ocean?” the waves asked, confused by this new information. “What is the ocean?”
“The ocean is what you both are,” replied the albatross. “You are simply bumps on the ocean. Nothing more and nothing less.”
“Nonsense,” scolded the waves. “You obviously don’t know what you are talking about. We are waves. The entire blue was created especially for us by the wave gods. We are the most special thing in the entire blue. We have free will and everything.”
“Oh my,” said the albatross for the second time, trying not to be rude. “I know it must seem that way to you, but I assure you that I have seen thousands of waves come and go during my life and I have sailed across the ocean for many, many years. From up here I see things from a much different perspective. Waves are just blips in the ocean. Without the ocean you wouldn’t exist. You are not separate from the ocean, my dear friends. You are merely the ocean briefly observing itself.”
The waves were quite stunned by this news and, although they didn’t really take the albatross seriously, they were interested in hearing more.
“When you say you have seen waves come and go, what do you mean? What happens to waves?” they asked.
“Do you see that long, white line that you are racing towards?” the albatross asked. “That white line is called the shore. When you reach it, you will vanish.”
“Vanish?” the waves asked in horror. “Will we die?”
“My dear waves,” the albatross purred in his most gentle voice. “You cannot die because you were never alive in the first place. You are the ocean, not the wave.”
The waves thought about that for a minute and were about to reject the entire premise as ridiculous when they crashed into the shoreline and
“Hmmm, where am I?” asked a new wave to no-one in particular.