In the dark the old man could feel the morning coming and as he rowed he heard the sound of flying fish leaving the water. He was very fond of flying fish as they were his principal friends on the ocean. He was sorry for the birds, especially the small delicate dark terns that were always flying and looking and almost never finding. And he thought, the birds have a harder life than we do except for the robber birds and the heavy strong ones. Why did they make birds so delicate and fine as those sea swallows when the ocean can be so cruel? She is kind and very beautiful. But she can be so cruel.
He always thought of the sea as la mar which is what people call her in Spanish when they love her. Sometimes those who love her say bad things about her but they always speak of the sea as though she were a woman. Some of the younger fishermen, who had motorboats, speak of her as el mar which is masculine. They speak of her as a contestant or a place or even as an enemy. But the old man always thought of her as feminine and as something that gave or withheld great favors, and if She did wild or wicked things it was because she could not help them. The moon affects her as it does a woman, he thought.