We Made An Ocean


“I want to make an ocean,” Emilio said over a month ago, when I was talking to him on Facetime about his upcoming trip to New Hampshire for our family vacation.  I’d asked him what he wanted to do during his visit and expected the answer to be “swim, play baseball, play basketball,” — all activities he’s always eager to do.  I was surprised he had a project in mind.

“How will we make an ocean?  Will we need paper and colored pens, scissors, glue?”  I  envisioned some sort of construction paper creation.

“No, just water and food coloring.  We’ll put blue and green color in the water and then put in animals and it will be the ocean.”

“What will we make it in?  A bucket?  A glass?”

Emilio shrugged.  “Anything.”

We didn’t make an ocean when he was in Northwood in July.  We were busy doing what I’d expected — playing in the water at Jenness Pond, hitting the wiffle ball over the roof of the camp we rented, lying belly down on the dock and looking for fish, playing Sorry! on the screened porch.  The ocean project seemed to be forgotten.

Friday I went with Adrienne to pick up Emilio from his school.  On the way home I asked, “What do you want to do this weekend, Emilio?”  Again, I expected a list of games and sports.  Instead?

“I have a project in mind.”

“Oh, what’s that?”

“We’ll make an ocean.  We’ll put blue and green food coloring in water and put in animals and it will be the ocean.”

So today we did.  We started with the bucket a set of ocean animals came in, but once we’d filled it with water and mixed in the food coloring, watching the dye swirl into clouds of blue and green, then piled in all the animals, the bucket was so full there was no room for the whales and sharks and octopus and turtle to swim.  So Adrienne got out a long plastic tub and we poured the first ocean in then made more.  Water, blue, green, swirl, animals and rocks and coral and seaweed.


Kitchen Floor Ocean.  It’s a great place to spend a summer afternoon.


About Grace Mattern

Grace Mattern is a poet, writer, mother, grandmother, partner, friend, family member, gardener, triathlete, hiker and for 30 years was the Executive Director of the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. She resigned her position at the Coalition on June 15, 2011 in order to concentrate on her writing, while continuing to engage in the movement to end violence against women as a consultant and advisor. Her chapbook Fever of Unknown Origin was published in 2001 and her full-length poetry book The Truth About Death was published in 2012.
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2 Responses to We Made An Ocean

  1. Nancy Durborow says:

    What a cool kid’

    Sent from my iPhone


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