There was once an ancient queen who lived in a cave on a secluded beach in Bosaaso, Somalia.
This queen didn't have coin or a crown, but she always greeted the dawn with a dua and a song directed at the sea.
She sang like her fragile vocal chords were coated with crystals, so rhapsodic and euphonious were her harmonies, conjuring all the devotion she had cultivated over the course of her long life and gifting it to the water.
She sang until her spirit was depleted, until her voice cracked with fatigue, and as she sang the sea spat out entire schools of tropical fish at her feet in gratitude for her ballad.
The queen, who didn't have coin or a crown, took one tiny tilapia from the kaleidoscopic bounty of seafood writhing on the shoreline, blessed the sea for its extravagant benefaction, and asked the water to reclaim the rest of its riches.
The sea was startled. It was used to being polluted and plundered.
'Is there something wrong with the fish?' the sea asked the queen. 'Would you like more exotic fare? Why are you not taking advantage of me as others do?'
'You've consistently shown me more kindness and care and comfort than I can hold,' said the queen. 'I'm just grateful to be in your presence. When I sing for you, I do it because your splendour sustains my psyche. That is all.'
The sea was moved by her words. 'How can I thank you? Do you want me to bring you pearls or other hidden treasures?'
'Just keep me company,' said the queen. 'Your beauty is enough.'
So the sea and the ancient queen kept each other company. For the rest of her life, every morning she sang her hymns to the water. She passed away peacefully whilst having a moonlit conversation with the sea about love, and the water gently reached out and pulled her tenderly into its depths.
In that way she became part of the ocean.
I share this story with you, beloved reader, because stories are how we build the world we want to inhabit. I share this story with you because, unlike a map with no ocean, there are no limits to my love for you.
This song is yours.
Image by DIRIYE OSMAN and STEVE BRIGHT.
Song of the moment: 'Lei Lei' by MARYAM MURSAL.