Immersed

2009 last snorkel with nico

“I finally reached the shore, out of breath and delighted, longing for more and feeling intensely alive. I had glimpsed boundless strength and passion within myself. For just an instant out there, in the arms of the Atlantic Ocean, I had felt beautiful.” (Excerpt from Paralian, Chapter 7)

I remember seeing the ocean for the first time when I was around four years old. Discovering the ocean changed my young life. It was a revelation. I threw myself into the cold churning waves, balloon-like arm floats encircling my tiny arms. Goose bumps quickly covered my entire body as I savoured the taste and the sensation of a living entity enveloping my body. My soul felt rested and at home while at the same time sensing danger and fragility. Whatever might happen to me in the years to come, I would always draw solace and strength from the ocean.

Gently lapping waves, roaring rapids or anything in between, any body of water has an immediate impact on my emotional state – I change, grow stronger, more focused. My heartbeat slows to a steady, comfortable rhythm. Even just dipping my toes, I am home, respectful of my environment, yet fearless, vivid, and at one with myself.

I love the power and unpredictability of this life-giving element. I love its beauty, it’s million hues of turquoise and blue, the way the sun’s rays break when trying to penetrate deep below. Like a million sparkling stars the warm reflections dance in tune to their own ballet of life.

Especially gliding weightlessly underwater, I feel in tune with this blue symphony. Clumsy on land, stumbling, unsure of myself, and perpetually awkward within my own body, I transform as soon as I am in the powerful arms of my blue home. Underwater I am graceful. I feel self-assured, handsome, completely at ease with the world and with my entire self. As I glide along the reef, I watch the interactions of the sea creatures amongst each other. I surrender to the waves and currents, working with them rather than against them to get where I want to go. As I let the ocean move me along, I glimpse answers, verve, serenity, awe, happiness… and, as my every day worries fall away from me one by one, life is put into perspective. I find myself with a twinkle in the eye (both eyes really), breathing deeply, doing somersaults underwater, glad to be alive.

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