I sit at the edge of the boat – so excited that my feelings border on desperation, anticipation; fear. One hand kneads the other. I lift my head to the sky, feeling the warmth of the sun on my nose and ears and the heat envelopes me. One foot nervously taps the floor. I lick my lips and taste salt – the salt of the water – and it calms me.
I check the pressure of my air tank; put on my fins. I suck on my regulator to make sure it’s working. Everything is ready to go. The gear is heavy on my back as I wait my turn to jump into the Caribbean. I waddle to the deck and jump.
The warmth of the water sends shivers up and down my spine. I’m inhaling more air than I should – no matter how many dives I complete, the rush still gets me every time.
I start my descent; my breathing slows. I hear my inhales and exhales (bubbles) from my oxygen tank. I look around. I’m in another world, and instantly peace overtakes the stress that usually occupies my brain.
The fish dart here and there. I look up and down….looking for Jason. He is my leader, my safety net, my guide. I spot him just below me. He gives me the “okay” sign as I descend. I nod that I am.
You might think that being underwater would be a quiet experience, it’s not. There are sounds from everywhere. The boat’s motor as it slowly leaves the reef. The sound of your breathing – the hiss of the intake of the cold, tank air and the bubbles that you blow to relieve your body of it. Holding your breath under water is dangerous for divers, and I remind myself constantly not to do it.
My hair dances around me, I listen into the abyss – hoping to hear dolphins. A turtle eyes me cautiously as he glides by. Plankton skitters away from me. Fish nuzzle into coral; eels dart out from hidden caves. All of us float with the tide.
I look out into the darkness….wondering what lies just past my view. Am I desperately searching for something that’s watching me with curiosity?
I do a flip – I’m upside down, and flying through space. I lay sideways, then flip upright and hug my knees. Do you want to know what it feels like to fly? Try scuba diving.
I take the regulator, my air, out of my mouth, and gulp in the salt water. Pure. Life. Calmness. Everything.
Watching a coral reef is like watching the inner workings of a major city. Everybody has a job, there are predators and victims. Some are smart and have figured out the game – darting around in defiance. There is life. There is death. There just IS.
I couldn’t imagine being without the ocean; I am part of it and it makes me whole. The sights, the sounds, the scents, the magic of it. I am not one that normally likes surprises. I do not live for “the rush” or the adrenaline of the moment. Some people think about jumping into unknown waters and immediately dismiss the idea.
For me, it’s peace, home. When I dive into the water, I’m anxious until I see what is underneath me. Life as usual. What we see as beauty and undeniable pleasure is just another day for the sea creatures that inhabit the land.
Water gives life, and it takes it away. Exactly as God meant for it to be.
And so it goes…
I wrote this prompt for the Red Writing Hood. The prompt: Water gives life. It also takes it away. Write a short piece – fiction or non-fiction – inspired by one or both of these statements. Word maximum is 600.