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Tonight while we were reading 20,000 Leagues Beneath the Sea we got to one of my favorite parts of the book. Captain Nemo gave a little speech about how much he loves the sea, where he’s free from unjust laws. He totally waxes poetic in the fancy dining room of the Nautilus. It was like hanging around the Ephemerisle crowd who dream of establishing a utopian community on the water. But in 1866 and in a giant submarine run by a scary dictator.
“You like the sea, Captain?”
“Yes; I love it! The sea is everything. It covers seven-tenths of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides. The sea is only the embodiment of a supernatural and wonderful existence. It is nothing but love and emotion; it is the ‘Living Infinite’, as one of your poets has said. In fact, Professor, Nature manifests herself in it by her three kingdoms, mineral, vegetable, and animal. The sea is the vast reservoir of Nature. The globe began with sea, so to speak; and who knows if it will not end with it? In it is supreme tranquility. The sea does not belong to despots. Upon its surface men can still exercise unjust laws, fight, tear one another to pieces, and be carried away with terrestrial horrors. But at thirty feet below its level, their reign ceases, their influence is quenched, and their power disappears. Ah! Sir, live- live in the bosom of the waters! There only is independence! There I recognize no masters! There I am free!”
During this bit of the book, Moomin got out all his oceanic stuffed animals and started making them pretend-swim around like they were really happy. Never mind that Captain Nemo was giving his speech through a big mouthful of turtle soup and dolphin livers. The stuffed turtles and rays and manatee were all having a disco party. I paused and we made up some songs where the animals were singing “Freeee….. we’re FREE! In the SEA!!!!!” while doing a fake underwater funk ballet to the tune of “Think” by Aretha Franklin.
Last week I was super sick and ended up in the ER, then in bed for days and didn’t see Moomin at all. Then today I was a lot better and went to a picnic where all my friends’ kids were playing in the park and I missed him a lot. So it was especially nice to come home and though we just had a little time before bed, we had fun… Tomorrow will be even better, I hope!
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