on the pacific


Here are a few facts about the Pacific Ocean. It is the biggest ocean by far. Four of our seven continents border the Pacific, and Antarctica would too if not for the Southern Ocean. The Pacific comprises 46% of the world’s water surface and one-third of its overall surface. This makes the Pacific Ocean bigger than all the Earth’s land area combined. The Earth is mostly water as we are mostly water, and if we think of ourselves as citizens of the world then all of us are children of the Pacific. The moles of the new-built California towns, the endless Archipelagos, the skirts of Asiatic lands — all are washed by the same waves of the Pacific. That’s what Herman Melville wrote. “Here, millions of mixed shades and shadows, drowned dreams, somnambulisms, reveries; all that we call lives and souls, lie dreaming, dreaming, still; tossing like slumberers in their beds; the ever-rolling waves but made so by their restlessness.” The Pacific is the great Potter’s Field of four continents, wrote Melville — the Indian and the Atlantic are merely its arms. From the middle of the Pacific we could be floating in space, and human life would be just as significant. Crossing the Atlantic makes us feel important. Crossing the Pacific makes us feel anxious and small. In the peaceful Pacifico is a Ring of Fire. Beneath the Pacific lies the deepest, darkest hole in the Earth.

more from Stefany Anne Golberg at The Smart Set here.