Full lyrics on Google Play Music
Have you ever gone snorkeling or scuba diving? The ocean is a miraculous being. She is essence and energy and her spirit envelops, lifts and ebbs. My ego falls like an obsolete wall.
Go there – now. Empty. Horizonless.
There is synchrony here. The sea animals, some are in between plant and animal, disappear when I drop in all gangly arms and fins, breathing loud bubbles into the blue. I exhale and lower thirty feet to lie on a warm sandy shelf. With a full tank of air, I can lie on that shelf for most of the day. After the ruckus from my landing has died down little sea eels poke their heads out of the white sandy floor to stand on tail tip until they look like a field of grass waving in the breeze. Cones, the size of pinky thimbles rise from their sudden collapse into the coral. They are called Christmas Trees because of their variety colors that seem to light up and glisten in the refracted beams of sunlight. Little fish, all dapper in their tailored suits, resume their play and their sheer delight in moving, catching a nibble of food. This is their life. Even when a storm rages above, this home below moves languidly.
A grouper comes up behind me. I know this because he hovers over my left shoulder. I can just make out the shape of his brown snout. And then he moves away and I find him hovering over my right shoulder. Now I am sitting upright, cross-legged. I do not move or I might scare him away. He repeats this maneuver for an eternity. Eventually, I realize he has relaxed and he is playing with me. I slowly remove my gloves and lift my arms up and away from my chest until my fingers almost touch each other. I open a space to make an entrance way. He circles around to face me. Minus snout and tail fin, he’s about the size of a toaster. There is no telling how long I must wait until he decides to enter the embrace. I see he is an old feller, which means he must be pretty smart to have survived this long. His brown velvety skin is hatched with white scars. He has a round wary eye. But curiosity gets the better of him and he enters the circle of my arms with his fins fluttering. He takes in the whole of me close-up, angled. One of his eyes is looking at me up and down. The other is looking at the ocean beyond my embrace. Maybe at my arms to see if they will threaten. I wait.
My dive partner, John, is a rescue diver for the Chicago Fire Department. He is investigating the abyss that drops to infinity beyond the shelf. He is absorbed in his own adventure. A Green Turtle emerges from the abyss and sails up to the surface of the ocean and down again. I have never seen such grace. What a beautiful animal. Lumbering and ponderous on land, she is sensual and a beauty at home.
The grouper is still there within my arms. I slowly bring my fingers to touch his velvety coat. He relaxes under my touch. How odd. I stroke his coat as I would gently stroke a cat. Before long his fins have grown still and he’s bobbing a bit from side to side. What? I signal to John. He comes over. I shrug. He places
both palms together and rests his cheek on the outer side of his hand in a gesture of sleep. Oh crikey, I put the old guy to sleep. Fish do not have eye lids which means they sleep with their eyes open– really.
I brought my hands back to his old body and pressed in a bit, shook him very gently. Nothing. I would believe he were snoring. You can’t laugh with a breath regulator in your mouth but John’s shoulders were jumping up and down. He took the old grouper and placed him in a little cave in the coral where he bobbed back and forth.
Oh God. I picked up my gloves and put them back on (fish skin is very delicate and glove texture will bring harm) and we stretched out and headed for the abyss.
Swim fifty feet beyond the shelf. Exhale. Drop. Free fall.
The blue above is struck with gold. Ahead and to each side the blue merges into a blue-grey mist. Below as we drop down, the blue gets inky and reaches into black. There is no sound but the brief outlet of air and my heartbeat. Total surrender.
We drop to a hundred feet and hover. What is left of our air supply won’t last long at this depth. We exhale excess air and stop breathing for a minute. Silence. Heartbeat. Take a small breath. And hold a minute. Exhale. And again. Empty of thought. Suspended in a vast, timeless womb. Bobbing a bit.
And then my hidden soul comes out to play. It purrs, no matter the storm that rages above. This friendly essence is the soul that dwells within my soul. It guides the moving energy it’s given. Always there, listening, observing – with no conscious thought about itself, it comes out to play and trusts me when I stumble. Holy nothingness loving itself. A voice that uses no words.
We slowly rise to thirty feet and swim to the shelf. The grouper has apparently awakened and gone about his business. For many days that followed, John and I joyfully descended into his garden. The grouper was there and resumed his game with us. It began, first one shoulder then the other.
Your loving friend ~Peggy
Photo Credit: Green Turtles, Queensland, Australia. Troy Mayne