Island Sweetness….

Posted by admin - 02/01/11 at 12:01 pm

The sun cast a sweeping glint over the crests of quiet morning waves.  It was 6 A.M. in Montego Bay.  Caribbean waters lapped the beach with rhythmic gentility.  “Flap, woosh. Flap, woosh.”

Armed with snorkels and masks, we took to the water.  Laird liked to wear fins.  I chose to swim without them, part of my perpetual quest to exercise away those love handles that tumbled over the top of my swimsuit.  Awed by the clarity, I adjusted my straps and submerged, disappearing into a fluid, tranquil world that blocked out all excess noise—cars, radios, machines, voices both happy and sad.

Under the surface none of that existed.

“Why?” I asked myself. “Why don’t we retreat to similar spaces more often, to places where the community of one can come together?”

I glanced at my brother gliding next to me.  He smiled and gave me the thumbs up.  It mattered not that his distorted face looked like a watermelon with eyeballs through the glass that covered it.  I knew exactly how he felt—the rareness of a moment of total peace, the sensation of being suspended, both in the water and in time, the primitive mammalian bliss of merging with the elements as our ancestors had for so many centuries before us.

“Wow,” I thought. “We don’t do this enough—not even close to enough.”  My wandering mind splintered off onto a philosophical bent.  “When did we decide to pay closer attention to reality shows than to nature, to follow sports teams more intensely than our dreams, to pay the most money to those who distract us the best?”

A baby ray stirred from the bottom of the sea.  Its spotted flaps kicked up the sand, formed small, ocean bourn clouds that morphed in circular shapes, not so different than a giant storm high in the sky—a microcosm of the outer world.  Like a shadow, the ray seemed to kiss the coral beds on its journey, undulating perfectly to match the contours of its path.

I followed, taken by the sense of belonging, the natural order that evolved throughout the ages, changing, adapting, adjusting, re-shaping itself over and over to manifest tiny creatures so suited to their environment, as if they had lived that way forever—so true to their essence.  “Had we lost that?”

I couldn’t help but ponder.

Laird and I turned for the shore, unhurried.  When we emerged, the brightness seemed misplaced and shocking.  I guess, for a short while, it felt wonderful to leave it all behind.

A local man passed by and nodded his head.  “Respect, mon’,” he said.


Key Points 

I love snorkeling, that feeling of floating in the water and looking around
much like a fish, encased in an ocean bubble without the customary noise,
marveling at the flowing world below me. Paradoxically, while seated on an
airplane, I asked myself what made this experience so special, why did I
find it so rejuvenating and regenerating? Hmmmm....
Is it the quiet beauty?
Is it simply the quiet?
The feeling of being suspended, caressed by warm sea water?
The uniqueness of the wild life?
The fact that normally snorkeling means I'm on vacation or at least taking a
mental break?
The search for something new?
The ever present feeling that a creature larger than I and more at home
might suddenly appear to say hello?
The likelihood of a nearby beach with soft sand?
The body of a lover gliding by just a few feet away?
The taste of salt and the cool waves that soothe my lips and throat?
The colors of the corals, seemingly so bright and alive, swaying back and
forth in the fluid currents?
The sun on my back heating the skin only to be cooled repeatedly by a slight
wave breaking over the shoulders? 

Need I say more?
Snorkeling anyone?

One Response to “Island Sweetness….”

  1. Lesli Dullum says:
    January 19th, 2011 at 3:48 am

    Swimming with fish and sea creatures takes you into a watery world none of us has known since the beginning of our existence. It was I as the uninvited guest fleetingly and awkwardly entering into a vast chasm of color, movement, and life. To be the silent observer floating at the top of the underwater world, knowing that I didn’t belong and yet so ecstatic and mesmerized to be there… is akin to imagining what the moon might look like close up. At every turn, every crevice, every colorful creature that inhabits the sea as far as the head can turn and the eye can see, is breathtaking… a reminder of our need to vacate our small world, and our even smaller thinking.
    Our circumstances don’t matter, our failures disappear… this is the place to go to put life back in perspective, to be awed and inspired by something so magnificent and simple as the vastness of our earth and all the wonders of it who everyday occupy a place that we humans aren’t privy to, except for brief moments in time. It is simplicity and serenity and I feel grateful to have been the silent awkward observer.

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