THE ocean is a home, a path; it is violent, rich, calm…and an escape. It is a underwater world so perfect compared to ours that not even we could just live there with all the fishies. Unfortunately, our survival depends upon oxygen; this being a gas the deep blue does not accommodate for.
Its not just the sea though, I think its anywhere that you can swim. Even though a pool isn’t as ideal as floating through the mazes of the coral reef world in Cairns, it’s the feeling of just being underwater that is unlike any no matter where you are….(unless you’re drowning which isn’t good)
Do you remember bath time when you were 4? For me it was the highlight of the day, because it wasn’t just bath time like my mother intended, it was playtime. Some days, I would pretend that I was a pirate; other times it was Olympic athlete, ocean girl (yes like the tv show!) and, my personal favourite, mermaid. Underwater, I would close my eyes and hold my breath as long as I could and imagine that I was swimming (like a Disney mermaid) across the ocean to a secret lagoon. There, the cave walls would sparkle because naturally, in the world of 4 year old pretend, they weren’t just made of rock; the walls were made of opals, emeralds, pearls, rubies, sapphires and diamonds. Through the small cave decorated with sea flowers, corals and obviously treasure, I would swim to the shore of my own private beach. Low hanging palm and fruit trees, rock pools and friendly sea animals to talk to, just like Ariel, I would lay in my hammock soaking up the warmth of the radiating sun just happy in my own secluded world of pretend.
Naturally, things have changed since bath time at age 4. I grew up, started and finished school, began working and left my world, my lagoon, my mermaid and ocean girl adventures to my favourite bed time story character, Peter Pan. I know he would keep it safe.
These days during summer, on one of our road trips we, like everyone else, spend days at the beach. Starting early and then leaving in time to get ready to go out that night, we come home with sunburn, beach hair (YAY!) and salty skin. From 1pm till about 5 in the afternoon the sun hurts even in the shade, the only relief is the water. While some idiots are tanning, others go out to get us lunch, and we just hang out in shallow end, sitting down and talking or laughing while the boys attempt to play some sort of sport on the scorching white sand. There is a time though, when everything begins to wind down. The air is sultry the setting sun is red, fiery and the sky is pink and blue. Now is that time to take the last dip in the water to clean all the sand off yourself. It is then that I, in that moment that used to be hours, escape back to my lagoon. Even though years have passed it remains completely unchanged, just how I left it the last time I visited my secret world. Coming up for air means coming back to reality which at that point is ‘shit what am I going to wear tonight, I am so sun burnt mum is going to kill me’.
The ocean, as they say, holds many secrets. Everybody has that moment of silence underwater, that moment when your head is clear and you can just think, these are the secrets that fill the ocean. Our imagination, our thoughts and true feelings and our past.