It’s futile in the big scheme of things – but most useful, most impressive and most important in the short term. That’s drawing a line in the water.
You know you will not, in the end, hold back the waves or temper the tides. You won’t beat the relentless rhythm of the ocean. You know – now matter how well you build it – that it will not live to see the end of the sea. This is fatalism – accurate but not useful, and it leads to nihilism, which is both useless and inaccurate.
Because how long it lasts is not the point.
At stake is all the little and large vessels, guarded safely into the port. At stake is the calmness on this side of the breakwater. At stake is the feature on a featureless background. At stake is the opportunity to walk along the pier and go and look at the deep water up close while you stand there, dry and reflective.
There are plenty of things that are ultimately doomed that are also utterly necessary.
And living a life is one of them. Like drawing a line in the water.