Monday, June 8, 2015

Icarus, who art thou?


Written By: Maham Ali Khan

I have loved the ocean for as long as I can remember. Being someone who was born into the house of the people who felt their soul connected to the sea, I didn't have much of a choice. But unlike the rest of my family, I loved the sea from a distance. Like anything unknown to man, the sea scared me almost as much as it made me love it. 

My worst fear when it came to the waters was not as childish as some people who think that something might pull them under ..or that they will get bitten by some oceanic creature. My fear doesn't even sound normal now that I come to think about it. Have you ever heard of Icarus? We all know bits and pieces of the story but not the complete version so let me bore you a little and tell you.

In Greek mythology, Icarus was the son of the inventor Daedalus and a slave named Naucrate. King Minos of Crete imprisoned Daedalus and Icarus in the Labyrinth to punish Daedalus for helping the hero Theseus to kill the monster called the Minotaur and to escape with Minos’ daughter, Ariadne. Daedalus knew that Minos controlled any escape routes by land or sea, but Minos could not prevent an escape by flight. So Daedalus used his skills to build wings for himself and Icarus. He used wax and string to fasten feathers to reeds of varying lengths to imitate the curves of birds’ wings. 
When their wings were ready, Daedalus warned Icarus to fly at medium altitude. If he flew too high, the sun could melt the wax of his wings, and the sea could dampen the feathers if he flew too low. 
Once they had escaped Crete, Icarus became exhilarated by flight. Ignoring his father’s warning, he flew higher and higher. The sun melted the wax holding his wings together, and the boy fell into the water and drowned. Daedalus looked down to see feathers floating in the waves, and realized what had happened.
Now I know this is a story about someone who got his wings destroyed by by the sun and drowned in the ocean. But what I am talking about the way Icarus felt mid flight, he felt invincible. He felt like he could do anything.That’s what the sea makes me feel. I fear that I would get lost like Icarus in his flight and eventually drown. How could you not get lost by the beauty of the ocean? The secrets that lay in it?

Albert Einstein said that everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insect, as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.

Is it foolish of me to believe that the sea could be my undoing?