From a young age, I would stand upon the shore and imagine myself walking forwards from that point, entering the sea, not looking back, and simply diving beneath the waves till I could breath underwater. In my mind's eye, it would take only moments to transform; the hardest part would be to make the decision.
There were sea urchins out there, resting between the grooves of the rocks - scaring the bejesus out of me when I drifted too close. There were small fish darting between cubby holes, and waving plants of deep purples and yellows. The light would shift errantly, patterning the white sands at the bottom where a small pink hermit crab scuttled. I spied a starfish... and seaweeds, held afloat by their buoys, gently gathered on my wrists like bracelets as I swam. The waters were lovely and tepid, like a warm bath that my mother drew for me an hour ago.
I think I held my breath when I saw the first turtle. They arrive here like clockwork, to feed on the sea grass. In all honesty, I felt as if I were the one being watched: a gaudy plastic flower from a thrift store garland, drifting on the surface. The turtles came from the place between the sea bed and the sky, formed out of dancing, shifting light traveling through water. We were worlds apart...
Then I took off my life vest and my flippery appendages, freeing my feet to the motions of waves and currents, and I dived below, to swim alongside them. It was divine. Ecstatic. Natural. The effect was one of a return, as if I was melding into the ocean.
WISDOM OF THE TURTLES
Female turtles come ashore most often at night to lay their eggs.
Repeatedly, turtles have been depicted as bearers of the World,
carriers of the Earth
in Chinese, Hindu and Native American myth.
In the beginning, there was only water,
Mother Turtle gave us land, offering us her shell to live on.
Turtle knows those parts of the world that remain to us
the sea - symbol of our deep unconscious
and of the mysteries of the outer cosmos.
She is the go-between.
Turtle was here long before,
her ancestral line stretching to the Cretaceous period.
She lives thrice the life of man -
exuding wisdom as she ages.