It is the end of the day and we are explorers launching our boat, ready and expectant. We leave the hot air of the land for the cooler temperatures of the salty mist that hovers over the water. We are small, a dot on a spinning orb, looking for a surprise. We are looking for wonder and beauty.
We leave our lives on shore and transport our hungry souls out into the swirl of blues, greens, and grays. We are hoping for a glimpse of anything or of we don’t know what. But somehow we are certain of where to go for discovery, solace and peace. At least two of us are in need of a re-booting. Life is heavy. This is the place of floating and watching. Life is lighter out here.
And light and lightness filter in and through our souls. Our pores are open, accepting all the sea gives. The sea has a way of prying open a heart hardened by a day. We are more buoyant when we are on board our little boat. Floating out as searchers, collectors.
A sailboat passes us on our way out. They are on their way in, an extraordinarily handsome sailboat from Canada. We release more of the day’s toxins into the cool sea air. We can breath. And we do. Our journey begins while theirs ends. The harbor is their resting place and the waterway becomes ours.
And I wonder if I could teach my child what she needs to know of life, drawing lessons only from what we find in the salty sea. Moments into our voyage, we come upon a shrimp boat returning with their catch. Gulls and dolphin gather around them attracted by the unwanted parts of their catch being thrown overboard. A cycle of life. A recycling of nutrients. It is a study in economics, in hard work, ecology, business, and stewardship of natural resources.
But I find that all I can really focus on, honestly is the wonder, the endless masterpiece of seemless salt, sky and sea. Th rich tapestry, assulting each of my senses. The treasures are palpable.
We would not be here so quickly at the end of day without our motor, but it is time now to turn it off and listen. And to float. White foam tells a story. We hear and see the beginning forming as the frenzied dolphin force the baitfish onto the shore for dinner. We watch a stunning display of a mammal’s hunting and gathering skills.
There is a connectedness, a synchronicity on the water. The gulls in the air, follow the dolphin and the fish they prey on joining the banquet table of blues and greens. We are turning around, three hundred and sixty degrees viewing this extraordinary aquatic life. I am awash in pleasure except for the occasional sting of a horse fly. There is the reminder of pain on board, an unwelcomed passenger biting our flesh. What a small sacrifice to pay to hear the dolphin blow through their holes with audible force and might. To witness their play, their mating, their dining. Their very lives heal our weary worn out souls. Tired from fighting the battles on the land.
And we spin around as the waves rock us under the bright night sun. It is relentless in its slow set. And we determine we cannot wait for it to go down. We must return to the toxic heat and pressures of the land, and to our dinner. Our own evening ritual of dinner and conversation draws us back to land. And we bring our appetites, increased by the sea air which stirs a hunger in our bellies.
There would be math lessons or physics lessons if I were to extrapolate the lessons from the sea. If beauty were not beckoning me to focus on asthetics, tending to ignore science and numbers and concrete factoids for a child to store away. Approaching the dock is timing and speed and distance and I know there must be some physics involved. The wind blows the boat and the man infront of us misses his mark over and over as he tries to fight the current and wind and the elements. His problem solving, patience and determination would be a life-lesson chapter, if I were using the sea as a classroom.
But I am distracted by a study in the hectic lives of the Purple Martins. Of their colony of dozens dining on mosquitoes and swarming around as they pitch and dive, feeding before they enter their gords.
We are almost home, restored, awash in salt and seawater. And new memories gathered up in a short trip out to the floating classroom.
Beauty teaches, salty therapy restores and we have taken sweet lessons from the sea.
All we needed for today, the sea has lovingly offered up to us. And we are grateful explorers returning safely from our aquatic expedition.