INSPIRATIONS FOR CREATIVE ACTION, MESSAGING AND DESIGN | THE DEEP STORYTELLING OF THE SEA
When I was a child, growing up in Spokane, there would be the occasional parental inquiry—“it’s time for the Opera—a vacation, and where would you like to go?” I had an answer, and it was always the same: the ocean. We had friends in Seattle, we’d go to see the Seattle Opera—and then take a further voyage out—out to the wild woods, something Cascadian, or something Olympian, and better still: the Washington Coast.
The primary dreamscape that I liked to go was “the ocean.” And there was one place, one campsite that I loved above all: Kalaloch, more precisely—an ancient storm point off the Olympic Peninsula, on the coast, boasting remotely ever wilder shores of love, nature, sand, great clusters of drift logs and seaborne trees, fog and mists, roaring storms and the perpetual cries of migratory fowl. We had a single campsite that I’ve still found to this day—a particular point that was the closest to the sea—and her constant roar.
My mother thought—
“Tim, it’s awfully loud here.”
I loved then [and love now] the perpetual sound of the Sea, the smell of it, the holistic tactile character of it all—sight, sound, smell and touch, the marine taste of salt on the air, veiled in sheaths of mist, blown like spume from the curling storms. Danger was there—[that to which we’re all looking for] adventure was an added implication—there were risky cliffs, precariously pitched trees and challenges in the surf—rip tides, undertows, tidal surges and lost spits, coast crossings, big crashing waves rolling monstrous driftwood trees and stump carcasses and sneaker waves.
As I’ve taught my grandsons, “never turn your back on the sea…” Watchout! Learning that myself, I’d presumed a kind of”watch your six,” a reference to a kind of prayerful vigilance, like an acolyte [which I was, then] being in an altar processional—“as you approach the journey forth, bow in reverence.”
When I’m heading into the ocean—as a wave student, with a board most likely,
I’d offer a prayer and bow at the Sea, the Great Mother of us all—
as I envisioned her.
Like the pinnacle of the pilgrimage—for my family, for me—
a miniature Mt. Kailash at her shores.
The caravan, a journey that draws others into a woven threading of experience, is an exploration of those the run the coastal gauntlet of the ocean, and these are the stories to be shared, among the sea whisperers.
We’ve not camped at the ocean as a family in many decades—yet, still, we’ve returned to it as a clan—especially the north coasts of Washington’s Olympic Park beach vistas, running literally hundreds of miles—from the north tip of the channel into the San Juan Archipelago, down to the mouth of the Columbia River. It’s not—for the most part—pristine tourist-ville, rather, in the tradition of New Era lodge craft—hand-hewn and mighty. We always camped, never lodged. The shores are lined with the outflow from the egress of the major rivers, and the inner channels of the Olympic Peninsula—the Hood Canal. With detritus and wave action, trees pass to the Sea, rise off the sandbars at massive, lunar tidal shifts, and choke the shorelines with inner pools of tide-wash zones, brackish swamps, to create salty ecological systems of wonder [for young naturalists].
Returning to the long sea shores—not Washington, but Oregon, I walked out into the mist—as I am prone to do—walking to where you can barely see.
What metaphor, to my line of work—
or yours, as strategist and designers?
Oftentimes, enterprises are cloaked—and only in walking closer, into the mist of them, you can see more—to the truth, close-up; and seeing into, walking into the mist—what might not be there, at the distant and closer running, will reveal more in sensed and examined proximity.
You go in, see, sense, listen, touch—
and more is seen, in scene.
Walk into it, the deep or shallowed, colored pool—in depth, shadows tell new stories.
Reflections cast a new path of insight—you see what is you,
you hear what you are listening to—
and you shall voice what you shall be speaking.
There are lessons to be learned—in leaning-in and looking.
Pools will show themselves, in gathering knowledge,
understanding ecosystems, business,
human-kind clustering, story-
telling and sharing.
Going into the mist, you—the seeker—fly into the heart of seeing nothing, yet then again, seeing everything. And designing experiences from what you’ve learned. The journey of the creatives—brand strategists, tacticians, producers and designers is to go in, see more, walk further and walk out with executable ideas, messages, visualizations, positioning.
Tim | Osean Studios
With the new tide, everything changed—
what was here, is gone, and new arrivals can be found.