This essay explores the intertwined oceanographic and spiritual imaginations structuring Ruth Ozeki's novel A Tale for the Time Being, which she rewrote in the aftermath of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. A Tale for the Time Being's new, metafictional frame story dramatizes a citizen-science response to marine debris and theorizes marine science as a mode of witnessing and a mode of reading. Furthermore, by bringing her depictions of marine science into conversation with the Zen Buddhist practice of not-knowing, Ozeki meditates upon the idea that attempts to know or understand necessarily mean coexisting with what cannot be known, discovered, or recovered.

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