2/24/2005

Descended

My mind was reeling as the ocean raced up my body and closed over my head. Thoughts of panic and suffocation threatened to reach in and pull me back to reality. My breathing was fast and shallow, the mask and regulator foreign and unwelcome. I felt dizzy and disarranged, no sense of direction, bearing or perspective.

Then I looked down.

The luminous emerald water captured the sun and diffused it’s brilliance throughout this mysterious underwater haven. I floated, entranced, gazing at the light shimmering and shifting in the depth. My fears slipped away, slowly slipped away, as the ocean swayed and pulled me in.

As I descended into this dazzling world of immobile and drifting creations, a rainbow of color, brilliant and breathtaking drifted up to greet me: purple, yellow, aqua, bright azure, fingers of red, feathery webs of orange; an underground forest, a stony outcrop of coral skeleton, sponges, sea slugs and jellyfish. And lobster. As I floated above this saltwater jungle, a feeling of weightlessness washed over me. I joined with the birds flying above, flying in the realm of air and mass but somehow escaping gravity. And while I floated an eerie shape moved over the coral reef, casting its dark shadow, strange in this world of light and color. An eagle ray, elegant and mysterious, gracefully flapping it dorsal fins, joined me in my flight. I watched as the ray circled the reef, eyes fixed, in its search for what? Fish? Other eagle rays? I watched until it was out of my sight. I watched as its peaceful journey continued into the infinite abyss.

My husband swam in front of me, leading the way, his body suspended in the water, in time, in eternity. He wore a yellow and black wetsuit, bright and easy to see, my beacon in this capricious and limitless world. His dark hair swayed with the current, to the left, to the right, sometimes straight up. His arms were crossed underneath him; his hands clasped his computer – his depth and pressure gauge. He glided smoothly and freely, a liquid figure, through the water, the only motion his fins sweeping up and down, up and down, cutting through the water, propelling him forward. I was mesmerized by this motion, by the current, by the warmth.

I gave myself up to the gentle ebb and flow of the ocean’s buoyant and ever imposing current. The timelessness of the ocean took over. My body became fluid as my breathing slowed and conformed to the pressure in my tank. In. Out. In. Out -- the sounds amplified in the warm, salty water. I inhaled to the sound of rushing air. I exhaled to the sound of tiny bubbles. Rushing in. Bubbling out. My body moved up and down with every breath. I was emerged, not only in water, but in sight, in muffled sound, in my thoughts and feelings. In my breathing. Everything around me became me. And I became the ocean, subject to its whims and fancies. Breathing in and out. In and out.

Then it ended. My husband signaled -- time to ascend to the boat above. To the world above, the heavy and oppressive world above. Reluctantly I followed. The up and down movement of his fins pushed water into my face, irritating me, bringing me back to the present. As I held on to the descent line for the mandatory three minute safety stop, I took one last look at the glimmering lights, shadows, colors and peaceful wonders now 60 feet below me. Fifteen feet above my head I could feel the harsh warmth of the sun, unforgiving and intense.

My head broke the surface of the water and I felt as if the air would suffocate me. I climbed on board the boat exhausted and exhilarated from the dive. I could still feel the sway of the ocean in my head. The horizon wavered in the distance, a shadowy line drawn to separate two realities of one realm.

2 Comments:

At 5:58 PM, Anonymous Anonimo said...

Sharron you are destined for great things - keep writing....I feel like I'm experiencing your thoughts, you have a gift, use it, expand it, grow with it! Ronda

 
At 11:08 AM, Anonymous T said...

There is wonderful flow to this story. Great descriptions! Keep writting!

 

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