I like the ocean at high tide, when it’s filled to the brim and ready to spill over its banks.

I like the ocean at low tide, when the air reeks of seaweed and pilings are exposed like petticoats.

I like the ocean at slack tide, when it holds its breath and meditates before slipping back into rhythm.

I like the ocean on a summer’s day, when it is blue and glittering and mischievous.

I like the ocean in the autumn, when it is steely and stern.

I like the ocean in winter, when sea smoke rises in forbidding patches and ice crackles on the shore.

I like the ocean on clear days, when you can see to where the earth curves down to China (okay, fine, Spain).

I like the ocean on foggy days, when the universe ends three feet from shore.

And I certainly like the ocean when it is peaceful and soothing and can carry all my worries away with its gentle motion.

But really, if I’m being honest, I like the ocean best when it looks like this:

Because an ocean is only an ocean if it hates you now and then.

(I hope you enjoy the photo.  I took 40 MPH ice pellets to the face for it.)