From within my cocoon at sea, I uncoil my body like a caterpillar.
I am fattened by leaves and petals that promise a future of winged flights, still I crawl.
I wonder what has really called me here, into both the substratum and surface of the spirit kingdom.
The kingdom of: bubbles, waves, clouds, sharks, songs, fish, seabirds, blue, dragons, whales, storms, seaweed, sirens, monsters, dolphins, phantoms, moonlight, sunlight, and starlight.
I was looking for something out here. Some missing piece of me that could only be found by getting lost, by crawling into a shell, by staring into the dark, by traversing across latitudes and longitudes, and listening to the wild beatings of the heart.
As I draw near to land, I fear that I have found that piece, but that I won’t be able to hold onto it once I touch the shore- that it will slip through my fingers like sand slipping into the sea. That I will arrive and my puzzle will fall apart and again be riddled with missing pieces. That it was a voyage done in vain. And I am fragmented once again.
Who am I? At the very root of my bones and blood of my flesh? Am I the shape of now and is it the same color as air?
All I know for certain is that I was born a stranger into a world of strange.
That throughout my life I have found myself and lost myself over and over and over again. Because the particles of my being always felt too slippery and challenging to hold onto in this world of strange. Because it was easier to toss whatever I truly was into the wind and change shapes, change colors, change patterns, again and again and again.
Out here surrounded by nothing human, I feel more human than I have ever felt. It’s a perplexing thought to hold in the palm of the mind.
Perhaps I am not human. Maybe I am an alien who crawled out of the sea and into the belly of a human- to be born again?
Who in the heck knows?! All I know is that there is a freedom and ease to life at sea. It’s slow and simple with challenges that scream to the spirit “You Are Alive!”
Life at sea is light. It is air. It is wild. It is rain. It is sky. It is breath and salt water and breeze. And it feels very different to life on land.
Out here I feel completely whole working in unison with and sometimes struggling against these elements. On land,
a great portion of time is spent in separation from these same elements, and perhaps that is the disconnection within me that I feel when my feet are there.
Bernard Moitessier was winning a Round the World Race for single-handed sailors and decided to forfeit the race so that he could continue traversing the sea. He says, “Sailing in these waters, if man is crushed by his feelings of insignificance, he is borne up and protected by that of his greatness. It is here, in the immense desert of the Southern Ocean, that I feel most strongly how much man is both atom and god.”
It is that beautiful mixture, both lilliputian and colossal in size, that one can feel on the ocean.
Today the feelings internally are like this, in resistance to the return.
Externally, have you ever felt the summer heat of the south. Like the flames of inferno with wet moisture drizzled on top. It’s the kind of heat that makes words lazy, cows lie, and birds fall right out of the sky. Well, that’s the kind of heat that I’m in right now. Nothing feels quite natural about it. It’s as if the sun is too close to this earth and everything is about to burn to the ground leaving life singed and in sorrow. I am afraid to look into the face of the sun today. It might blind me.
But even the great heat of the sun makes me feel alive.
There is a twilight zone in the ocean where the sun does not go. It’s the blackest of blacks and home to organisms that glow. I can see it, a dark world of slow moving bioluminescent creatures. Sounds trippy!
There is also a “deep-sound channel” aka SOFAR in the ocean. Sound is already moving five times faster in water than it does in air, but it moves slightly faster the deeper you go. The SOFAR is 1000 meters down and it’s where the whales can communicate across entire bodies of ocean.
If I was a creature of the sea, I’d be an octopus with special powers to travel to the twilight zone and a special sound that could infiltrate the SOFAR. That’s what I’d be if I lived in the sea.