SWORDFERN
Rooted, I used to think.

Profile - Archive- RSS
Notes - Email - Diaryland

A Weekend in Trinity - Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021
Newfoundland Part I - Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021
Underwater - Friday, Aug. 27, 2021
Married Not to Me - Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021
Cox Bay - Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021


Friday, Aug. 27, 2021 @ 6:14 pm
Underwater



Underwater. The sound of my breath, the in and the out. The muffled tick tick tick of a far off boat motor. I move through the mussel-crusted boulders, rockweed swaying back and forth with the swell.

I woke up one morning not too long ago and stood there in my living room, warm cup of coffee in my hand. I surveyed the landscape, picked up my binoculars and scanned in the distance for whales. Counted the swimmers, the early morning kayakers moving across the glassy-still ocean. I looked down at the ocean, checking the tide, looking at the place where I enter the ocean to swim, a swath of clear sand in the midst of a rocky shoreline. The water was clear, so still and calm, and I could see through the water to the rocky reefs below. A sip of coffee. And then something fires in my brain. Snorkeling. Here. Now.

I pull on my spring wetsuit. The comfortingly tight neoprene, the satisfying zipper up the front. Grab my mask, my snorkel. Elevator down. A quick run across the bike lane, and a laughing Hello! to the elderly woman who is smiling at me. I’m a funny sight for sure, a girl in a wetsuit with bare feet carrying a snorkel in downtown Vancouver.

I wade into the ocean. I put the mask on my face, bite down on the mouthpiece. Push underwater.

The rockweed and the ethereal light. Rock crabs scuttle away from my shadow. I follow a shiner perch down through the boulders, and around a corner it meets up with a dozen other shiners and they all school up in formation, becoming something else entirely, organic and synchronized.

A black rockfish, low to the sand, alone. It moves into the shadow of a boulder while I pass.

I leave the boulder garden and head out across sand. The visibility is poor - a cloud of suspended silt, or molted exoskeletons. There is a long stretch of nothing, just speckled sand and my breath and the cold, cloudy water pressing up against my body. And then, suddenly, I am in the midst of a ball of fish. Herring? Smelt? Their tiny bodies flashing, above me and below me and in front of me and behind. The moment is silent. If my eyes were closed, I wouldn’t even know that I was surrounded by hundreds of shimmering fish.

Since that day, every afternoon, I pull on my wetsuit and go underwater to explore. Dungeness crab scuttling across the ocean floor. Shoals of silvery fish that appear, and then disappear, like gusts of wind. Emerging from the water, wringing my hair onto the sand, the folks on the beach asking me what there was to see. I report elaborately on the day’s findings, my smile and excited laughter, my body shivering with cold.

To be alive, to be free, in this time of rich abundance, is a gift.

I struck my hand against sharp mussels yesterday, and when I came out of the water I noticed a thin line of blood, a straight narrow cut like a razor blade. Today, a day later, the cut still stings, and I am reminded of the dangerous nature of venturing into a space neither engineered nor controlled by man.

Come with me.
Hold your breath and
Follow me underwater
So that I can show you
All of the things that I see.

Come with me.
Hold your breath and
Open your eyes
So that I can kiss you
Under the surface of the sea.


Roots | Shoots