My earliest memories of the ocean are turquoise waters, white sand, the clear clear warm water and you could wade out so far before it got deep. Those beautiful waters and beaches of the East African coast. It was there beside those waters in one of those tourist hotels where I perfected my front crawl stroke. I saw this lady swimming back and forth in the hotel pool and her arms cut through the water in smooth, gliding strokes. I copied, and became fast.
It was a ritual every Christmas to rent a house on the beach, because the seasons are different there. No snow, no cold, just warm breezes, the hot sun of the equator and my eyes dazzled and tickled with the sunlight dancing on the azure waves of the sea. I learned how to snorkel in those waters, to see the jeweled fishes darting by, to remember not to duck my head too deep or get a stinging mouthful of salty water. I caught my first and only case of sunstroke at that oceanside and I watched amazed as my chocolate skin burned and peeled and I writhed in nauseous agony under the mosquito nets.
There is also the memory of hanging suspended, weightless under the ocean, caught between earth and the moon and with the heartbeat of the planet whooshing in my ears. I don’t think I was ever afraid, being held in the arms of Yemanja, letting her sway my body and heal my coral cuts and nourish the springy coils of my hair. I even saw a small tiger shark once, snorkeling – I think we both startled each other – but I was never afraid. The ocean was like coming home.
What am I doing so far away from the sea? Sometimes on still Winter mornings the clear desert air and the turquoise skies reminds me of those warm waters but am I nourished? I didn’t think I would miss the sea. I’ve touched the Pacific and tasted her natures, both the cold and the cool and deathly with riptides and waves, a surfer’s paradise but for swimmers it could be hellish.
And the Atlantic with its cold grey sand and pebbles for beaches made me tired and yearn for the tropics. Because ocean and beaches were supposed to be hot, and still and powdered sugar being lapped up by the gentle warm wavelets of the Indian Ocean as the moist breeze tells me secrets rustled in the palm trees.
Under the ocean where its quiet and sounding, and you move with the tug and pull of our only moon. Unexplored depths make me wonder what might live there wondering at my shadow suspended floating turning slow somersaults, land creature visiting the roof of their world.
May your thoughts be as wide as the sea.
May your love be as deep as the ocean.
May your soul float weightless, open to endless possibilities.
May your mind rejoice, fed on warm waters, energized by the sun.
May you be Under the Ocean with Me.