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The Waves of Time

Henry David Mauser

The sea, the vast, inexhaustible sea, blankets itself in fog as it sleeps, but you can hear the waves – murmuring, murmuring, murmuring upon the brink of their final horizon. They bear ships and fleets upon their backs; according to caprice they dashed and destroyed, hampered or hastened, and now, now they break, casting the untold stories of the ocean’s expanse upon the cliffs against which they are whispering. Swirling above, diving below, vanishing and appearing like wraiths in the obscuring mists, the birds of the sea mingle with the waves, and listening, they respond. In the darkness of the morning they mourn, keening, crying, calling out their dirge to whoever would hear. The waters must indeed sigh a forlorn history. 

As the sea finds its limit against this towering shore, so too does the realm of land against this wave-ridden plain. A promontory, sculpted in the same stark white rock which forms the cliffs, peers out into a world not its own. It is held back by its stony brethren as it strains to reach for the sea, for the waves which ceaselessly barrage it as they slowly, relentlessly, caressingly carve away, subtly expanding their melancholy domain. 

How like time they are! Drowning proud civilizations in their depths, steeping the past in darkness; ineffably rolling onward, sweeping over, eating, eroding; here as placid as a summer breeze, there as wild as a tempest, but always, always, always marching on. The ambitious of mankind may perhaps begin to navigate the currents, may think themselves unassailable. But when the sea lashes itself into raging billows and the thunder laughs at our folly; when, stepping into the surf, the ocean takes hold and drags us unto destruction inescapable, how helpless are we all against the tide! 

The waves of time keep coming, drumming, murmuring with the lamenting of the gulls, and the grey gloom of the early hours pervades the earth and imbues the soft fog with unpleasant chill. The world seems to be waiting, but for what, who can say? For the waves to stop beating against the shore, for the ceaseless to cease, for the relentless to relent? Forever they have been whispering, forever, perhaps, they will be, but they are whispering now, whispering the wisdom of the sea, whispering on the edge, at the end of the world.