Posts Tagged ‘scuba’

Right now I  wish, wish, wish, wish I was underwater … cool, crisp, fresh, soft magical  salty water. So here’s my buddy check for all my friends … today you get to go on the most relaxing, refreshing dive you’ve ever known. As you wade into the  crystal clear sea, sun-sparkled ripples seep slowly through the black neoprene that tightly encases your body, into your boots, cooling your feet.
Then you stop for a moment and smile to yourself. Have I turned my tank on? And what has that crazy little critter  filled it with this time? Reaching over your shoulder, you release the air from the tank into the valves, then reach down to read the special gauge that tells you exactly what and how much your tank contains today.
Pale pink butterflies flit across your small round dive computer screen, then round in swirling circles of colour until their translucent images dissolve. Yes, you knew your tank would be full of them – no surprises there. Then a red button on the gauge begins to flash and beep, emitting the high pitched sound of rubies clinking like ice in a tall crystal glass  filled to the brim with sparkling pink champagne. Yes, there are rubies in your tank, a mine full of them. The tank is so full, the rubies start to spill out into the water, making its surface shimmer to life with a greater radiance than you’ve ever experienced before.
Then you steal one last glance at your dive computer, convinced of your strong suspicion there must be one final element filling the tank strapped fast to your back. You can feel whatever it is rumbling deep inside the tank, ready to burst forth and animate each of your forthcoming breaths. Every fibre of your being is convinced this  is one of the most powerful propellants known to humankind. It is both common and magical, pure and unique, refreshing and sustaining. It is obscure yet obvious, clear but enigmatic, both invisible and evident, simple though profound. Of course, your tank is nearly ready to burst with friendship in its most potent, poignant and purposeful form. In its highest known, most concentrated form, friendship spills – then floods – out of your tank, and the very ocean itself is transformed.
Today each of us will dive in different directions, yet somehow we know that we will all be swimming under the same glossy, glassy surface, experiencing  the same sacred secrets of the same splendid ocean. Each one of us with be utterly awed by the peaceful beauty and graceful diversity that surprises us with every fish-like kick, each second of every day. And in those moments when accounts and projects and meetings and administrivia intrude into the salty, seamless fabric of our day’s delightful dive, a quick glance back down to the small round computer in each of our hands will transport us immediately back into the bliss of our oceanic escape.
The fragile wings of butterflies will flicker, find their strength and take flight. Streams of sunshine will send bright beams through each facet of a thousand rubies that radiate faint freckles then fantastical flames of exquisite light. And once again the tenacious ebb and flow of unquenchable friendship will eclipse the roar and surge of the waves themselves, infusing each ripple with inexplicable peace,  joy, serenity and all the power of the very ocean itself.

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“My – how everything can change in the blink of an eye!” Angelica murmered under her exhausted breath. In an instant, her carefree life had utterly transformed, and now she found herself bouncing from one mind-numbing Grown Up appointment to the next. There was barely a moment to pause and think of the lonely little girl in pink overalls, well hidden from sight in her new office, making butterflies and hanging them with pins from the underside of Angelica’s solid new mahogany desk.

“I’ll be there soon,” she thought in promise to the Child, but every opportunity was instantly absorbed by yet another Grown Up needing an even fatter slice of Angelica’s undivided attention. She flitted like a tired butterfly in the heat of the day from one flat-faced corporate flower to the next, never quite finding the much-needed time to land.

“I’m having a tea party with my friends,” the Child crouched under the desk said with conviction. She addressed her dreamy words to the butterfly she was drawing onto the page of a blue-lined notepad, now cutting it out and colouring it in with a pale pink pencil. Then she dangled it from a short piece of blue office twine, blowing a small breeze with pouty pink lips to send the butterfly swinging into gentle flight. “We  three are sitting on a cliff,” she imagined out loud, “Looking out over the ocean, drinking teardrop tea from tiny shiny cups made out of the pearliest pink shells.”

She was no longer trapped under Angelica’s dark new desk in the office that felt to her like an imposing Ivory Tower. Her delightful daydream had transported her into the company of her two Very Best Friends, to a sunny place where the fresh sea breeze filled their tiny lungs with all the freedom of the ocean and the sky combined. The girl in the red dress was pouring tea into the boy’s cup – rosehip tea infused with all the tears she had ever cried in the moments that had made her happiest of all. He thanked her with a thoughtful smile and pretended to sip. For of course the fragrant tea was as unreal as the clifftop itself, but that had never before stopped the trio from pretending that everything they dreamed or daydreamed was completely solid and true.

He sighed and counted all the things he loved about this girl with each make-believe sip of the pale red tea. One – strawberries. Two – roses. Three – rubies. Four – the blood that flushed her pretty cheeks every time she gazed in his direction. Five – the summer sun flashing brightly against the symbol of the Friendship Tree she wore with undying love around her slender neck. It was the exact same pendant his other little friend in the pink overalls had lost only days before in the magical Foxglove Spires Garden.

The boy in blue remembered with heart-swelling pride the moment when the beautiful red girl had made the precious sacrifice and given her tearful friend the necklace from around her own beautiful neck.  Soon after, he had miraculously found the first missing pendant dangling from a twig in Friendship Tree and had tenderly adorned her with it to replace the one she had given away. Sitting high on the clifftop as they now shared a pot of blissful teardrop tea from pearly pink shell cups, the once-lost treasure dangled from her neck like an enchanted bauble. He was mesmerised by the pendant, following the necklace up to lips that blushed like strawberries and eyes that sparkled like rubies, reflecting back to him the crimson rosebuds that bloomed for her alone in the deeply romantic secret garden of his heart.

Their little friend in pink overalls quietly watched her two companions from a slight distance, playing absently as always with the string of pale pink beads she wore as a bracelet on her wrist. She observed yet again how – more often than not – these two seemed completely absorbed by the depth of their own deep affections. Theirs was a world so sacred and private, she felt privileged to just sit close by and to know with certainty that love so intense, pure and absolutely devoted could truly exist. She adored them both, her affection for each of them intensified by the magic of their undivided love for each other. There were no two people in all the world she would rather sit with here on this clifftop, overlooking the sky-blue mantle of the ocean which hid a thousand irresistable mysteries beneath its glassy surface.

“It’s time,” breathed the beautiful girl with rubies for eyes, her words steaming through the toasty haze that drifted upwards from her cup of teardrop tea. And before the white haired boy and the pink cheeked girl could guess what game they were all about to play, she stood and took three steps towards the very edge of the clifftop, then raised her arms high together over her head. Flashing a quick, bright smile from her strawberry lips, she dived straight as an arrow into some unseen bullseye, penetrating the ocean’s surface with the tiniest splash before disappearing from far from sight.

Her two companions looked at each other and exchanged broadly beaming smiles. She had finally found her courage, and without hesitation, the pink girl lept from the clifftop, sommersaulting through the air, entering the water at the precise same point where her friend had just disappeared. Magically, the white haired boy was already under water to greet her when she burst through the cold water’s surface, and they swam quickly to keep pace with the girl in the bright red bathers who darted ahead of them, eager to show them the million wonders she spied with her own brave, brightly sparkling ruby eyes.

When the adventure was done, the three children climbed – soaking – out of the water and back up to the clifftop where the the blood that pumped through the beautiful girl’s heart had transformed like magic from total love to complete courage. Three sets of eyes sparkled brightly – they had finally taken their first underwater adventure together! The boy’s deepest desire of sharing the secrets of the ocean with the girl of his dreams had finally become a reality

Their friend in pink ran her fingers through her wet hair, beaming with pride at how strong her pretty friend had grown. The fear that had filled those lovely ruby eyes in the past now dissolved completely, replaced by all the wonders they had finally seen for themselves under the ocean’s sparkling surface. She watched as her friends embraced tenderly, never wanting to disturb the precious moments they alone could share. But without warning, an impulsive question popped like a pearly soap bubble from her pale pink lips.

“But how did you finally get so brave?”

“It was my necklace – the one that once belonged to you,” her friend replied. Her cheeks flushed with pride and joy and the strength that came from all that the Friendship Tree pendants the three friends wore around their necks  had come to mean. But by the time she had instinctively reached her hand to touch the pendant and thank it for giving her the magic of courage, her two friends had already noticed – with horror and disbelief – that the necklace was no longer hanging around her neck.

Their minds raced – perhaps they could climb back down the cliff – maybe it had come off as they had climbed back out of the water? But the dawning realisation in their friend’s ruby eyes revealed the truth most likely. The necklace was surely now somewhere deep below the ocean’s glassy surface. The trio peered over the cliff face, and every ray of sun that bounced off the water’s crests seemed to mock them, taunting ‘It’s over here; no – over here’ – a thousand sparkles dancing across the water’s surface like a thousand lost pendants sparkling far beyond their reach.

“It’s gone for sure,” the girl in the pink overalls sighed, remembering how she had felt in the secret garden when the exact same pendant had vanished from her own neck, only to be found dangling from a twig from the tree she had been climbing. The ocean would not yield the treasures it had stolen quite so easily. She knew without a moment’s thought what she needed to do. She undid  the clasp around her own neck, releasing the pendant that her beautiful friend had placed around her neck from her own when she had believed her pendant had been lost forever.

“Time has a way of restoring to us the things that matter most,” she intoned, recollecting the words the white haired boy had spoken when he had placed the now lost pendant around the neck of his love in the Secret Garden. Now it was her turn to place a pendant around the beautiful girl’s neck. “Thank you for loaning your Tree necklace to me all this time,” she whispered in a voice as soft as sugar-frosted, finger-painted hearts, “My pendant has now been lost twice, but your pendant now truly belongs to you once more.”

The boy could no longer watch the scene of the hugging girls without tears filling his own sea-blue eyes. He was in awe of the bond the two girls had developed – first for one to sacrifice her greatest treasure, and now for this new act of love and sacrifice in return. All thoughts and words choked in his throat, his heart touched by such acts of kindness, all thoughts of selfishness dissolving completely. He wanted to search every drop of the ocean to find the pendant that had now been twice lost, the one that matched the tree pendant hanging from the black cord around his own neck.

He would clean away the pearly shell cups, then he would prepare himself to make a sacrifice of his own. He loved the beautiful girl with the ruby eyes that now flooded with gratitude more than anyone else in the world. But he was also proud of his little friend in the pink overalls, and after he had poured the final drops of teardrop tea from the pearly shell cups, he would remove his own pendant and place it around her pale pink neck, leaving his own black cord bare.

Yes – it would be a tremendous sacrifice. The outline of the tree punched into his silver pendant had given him all the strength he had ever known and symbolised all the friendship he would ever need. But he knew that holding tight would strengthen only himself, and letting go would strengthen them all. He gathered the last of the three shell cups, and felt such intense emotion ahead of his sacrifice, that a single, sapphire tear rolled down his cheek and into the shell. Then the sun that gleamed from the tear that landed in the cup suddenly came to dazzling life, radiating a sharp silver brilliance. Its light was so bright and the boy’s laughter so unexpected, they broke the girls from their gentle embrace, drawing their eyes like expectant magnets to the chain dangling across the palm of the boy’s hand. The girls were truly dumbstruck – the pendant that had been twice lost had now been twice found.

“It wasn’t in the ocean – it was in the teardrop tea!” their friend exclaimed, and the wide-eyed girl with flushed pink cheeks moved quickly towards him so that her bare neck might be bare no longer. As the clasp was done firmly around her neck, the three children chanted in unison: “Time has a way of restoring to us the things that matter most.” The trio embraced, then linked arms and made their way back down the cliff face, their feet leading them in the familiar direction of the Friendship Tree as pink swirls of dusky sun filled the sky with promises of new adventures tomorrow. 

As the sun set on the Ivory Tower, Angelica reached up to the pendant around her neck, thanking it for the strength it had given her to get through yet another frantic day. Once again, she was tired and hungry, as the busyness of her new job had yet again denied any opportunity for a bite of food or even a few minutes to sit and rest with a cup of tea at her desk.

But finally the day had drawn to a slow close, and gratefully she reached beneath her desk to retrieve her briefcase and car keys. Something brushed softly against her hand, and crouching down to investigate, she discovered three paper butterflies – drawn as a child might draw – cut from blue lined notebook paper and coloured with pencils: one pink, one red and one blue – all dangling from pins attached to short pieces of blue office twine.

She smiled and sighed, How long since she had made one of these? Months? Years? It felt like decades. She detached the pink butterfly and tucked it gently into her briefcase. “I’ll take this one home with me,” she thought. “The other two can stay there and keep me company tomorrow.” In reality, she knew tomorrow would be just as busy as today – if not busier. But just knowing the red and blue paper butterflies would be dangling quietly under the dark mahogany desk in the Ivory Tower somehow gave her strength. As she turned off the light and closed the office door behind her, she knew with certain relief that somehow she would be able to face all the challenges of tomorrow when they rolled like ocean waves onto tomorrow’s new shore.

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Three friends ambled slowly along the concrete walking path, looking out over the expanse of wet sand and the calm shallow waters of the inlet at low tide. As always, the white haired boy gently held the hand of the rose-cheeked girl, while the girl with pink overalls and bows in her hair lagged a little way behind, fascinated by the pulsating movements of a small pink sea jelly that bobbed just below the water’s surface. Its soft dome occasionally broke the surface to catch the few sunny shimmers that managed to reach the water from the heavily overcast umbrella of sky. But quickly, the sky’s umbrella developed a small tear, and gentle rain, now becoming heavier, sent the three scrambling to the nearest covered picnic table. Laughing, they shook the rain from their hair, and soon they realised they were not alone.

A young man was sitting on the other end the table, feet on the bench, hands in his pockets, the hood of his grey jumper pulled up over his head. He smiled as he watched the trio of children laughing amongst themselves at how wet they had become so quickly in the rain. “It’s only water you know,” he remarked which for no real reason made them laugh even more, and soon he was laughing with them. “We were thinking of maybe going for a swim a bit later on,” the rose-cheeked girl told him, “But now it feels like we’ve already been in.” She had always been the most confident one of the three, even though sometimes she felt as though she was a little on the outside of the friendship the other two seemed to swim inside. She grappled within herself to accept and understand the wordless language they seemed to speak to one another when thinking about the ocean they both loved passionately or the Friendship Tree they often climbed together and always wanted her to climb too. She was slowly starting to comprehend how such a friendship could exist when the boy’s heart belonged totally to her, and with time she was growing to understand and love them both for wanting her to be part of their circle.

“Why settle for running in the rain or going for a swim when you could dive?”, the young man replied, turning slightly so the children could read the ‘Scuba Dreams’ logo printed on the back of his jumper. “There’s no greater adventure in all the world than an underwater safari. You kids are just the right age to start learning, you know.’

“I don’t think that’s something I would ever do,” the girl told him, a small crack appearing in her usual courage, “But these two here – they would do that in a heartbeat.”

At the sound of the man’s words, the white haired boy’s vivid imagination had already taken him under the water, and as always the girl in the pink overalls was not far behind him. They had only ever seen the ocean from the top and its hidden mysteries had always intrigued them. Now their minds transported them both deep under its glassy surface, and together they glided through the warm water, its mysteries no longer hidden from their eager eyes. They soared above the sandy bottom like birds soar above clouds, marvelling at the shapes and colours of spiky black urchins, large cobalt seastars attached to enormous purple boulders, bright tiny fish and massive blue groupers that swam towards them, inviting them to interact. In turns, the children pointed out to one another a beautiful brown eagle ray, taking magical flight from the rocky ocean floor. Then, a spotted yellow moray eel poked its head out from a crevice between some rocks like a wide-eyed, open-jawed snake, and the girl in the pink wetsuit felt a strange fear and thrill combine to course through her veins like water. She knew that the creature would not hurt her if she didn’t touch it, but the strange sight filled her with a powerful sense of awe and wonder.

And then she saw the white haired boy, motioning her to join him in the water just a little way ahead. Before she knew what he had called her to see, he had disappeared into a large crevice under a rock ledge between two enormous boulders.The girl always carried her bright pink torch with her into her deepest daydreams, and its bright white light now shone through dark water, bouncing from wall to wall to reveal that she had in fact followed the boy inside a large underwater cave. It was like entering the hall of an underwater castle, its cold stone walls protecting anyone brave enough to venture inside. She glided slowly through the water, hovering over large rocks, searching behind and under ledges for hidden treasure and mysterious creatures that might inhabit this underwater kingdom, this secret palace made of boulders.

Then her torchlight caught the white-haired boy ahead of her, waving frantically, pointing towards something that had just swum past the spot where he now hovered weightlessly in the dark water column. She glided towards him, following as he increased speed to find whatever sea monster had just brushed past him. She reached his side and he pointed down to what appeared to be a mottled flat brown rock, nearly seven feet in length. Slowly her eyes made out the wide shape of a head with beady eyes on its flat top and a tassled fringe along its jaw, a long body with fins and an enormously long tail. The creature had settled quietly down onto the cave floor like a dragon guarding the castle, and she sensed that if she did not disturb it, it would leave her peacefully alone. At other points in the cave there were small fish, and a fast moving brittle seastar made its way through a nest of red shrimps that scurried busily under the lowest rock ledge.

“It’s perfect down here,” she thought to herself, for words in this world were as impossible as underwater butterflies. “It’s almost perfect,” thought the white haired boy, his mind tossing like waves between the joys of exploration and the feeling that, while this adventure was rich for two, it would be all the more treasured if it could be shared by three. There were so many colours inside this cave – the yellow and orange sponges adorning its rocky walls and the brilliant blue of the ocean above that occasionally peaked through rugged holes in the cave’s ceiling. Gold sunlight sometimes streamed in, its dappled beams dancing like happy children on the boulder walls. And there was his friend with her bright pink torch, a little too excited as always by all that she could spy with her little eye, where every adventure was for her just another funny game. Even in the darkness of the cave, he could sometimes see a smiling sparkle in her eyes when she spotted some new creature darting in or out from the cave’s rocky crevices. But for him, there was just one colour missing – the vibrant red of the girl he loved the most – and in his heart he wished for nothing more than to one day share this magical underwater world with her too.

And at this thought, he caught from the corner of his eye a large moving object that sent a small terror through him, causing his heart to skip a beat and his lungs to miss a breath. Had he disturbed the large flat wobbegong shark that he’d just now seen resting on the floor of the cave? But no – now that his heart had settled and his eyes had found their focus, the moving object seemed to be holding a torch of its own, and it wore a mask through which vaguely familiar eyes could be faintly seen. As the dark shape moved closer, the boy recognised the eyes of the young man the children had met in the shelter earlier when it had started to rain. “Come follow me!” the man motioned, and the white haired boy and the girl with the pink torch swam slowly and steadily behind him to see what he had discovered. Gliding through the dark water, he led them back to a place just inside the entrance of the cave where sunlight streamed like liquid gold through one large gap in the cave’s domed roof. Then he motioned them to surface inside the cave and their three heads now broke the water’s surface to catch sight of whatever it was that the diver had brought the children here to see. Actually, it was not something he had found, but someone he had brought with him, and the eyes of the white haired boy sparkled more brightly than as if he had discovered the richest pirate treasure. Sitting on a rock near the entrance of the cave, her legs dangling in the water, sat the beautiful girl with the smile full of roses. Her friends’ eyes filled with awe and wonder. How had she come to be here? And how had she found the courage to join them in the cave?

“After you two disappeared under the water, this one realised there was fun to be had and she didn’t want to miss out,” the young man explained, nodding in the direction of the beaming girl he had led down to the cave to sit on the rock in her cherry red bathers.  She waved to her friends and blew the white-haired boy a sun-dappled kiss. “I’m feeling braver now,” she whispered down to him. “Next time, I might be brave enough to put my head right under the water and explore the cave a bit further with you both.” And as they leaned warmly into each other’s smiles, they barely noticed the girl with the pink mask disappear back below the surface, sending tiny bubbles back up through the water until her head popped up again. Swimming over to her lovely friend, she lifted her arm out of the water and placed a delicate object into her open palm, folding the girl’s fingers gently over it to briefly hide the tiny treasure. “I saw this down there before, and it made me think of you,” she smiled, and the girl whose eyes sparkled like rubies opened her hand to discover a small red, heart shaped shell. “Tonight when you go to sleep, place this shell under your pillow – it will help to make all your Scuba Dreams one day come true”, her friend whispered.  “And next time we go exploring underwater” the boy beamed, “My heart tells me you will be brave enough to lead us on the adventure.” “I think so too”,” the beautiful girl replied, her cheeks rosier than he had ever seen before.

“So what do you think, kids?” the young man in the Scuba Dreams jumper asked the three children. “Do you think one day you might go for a real underwater adventure?” They barely heard him – their eyes were still full of their magical daydream about all finding each other in the underwater cave. The words he spoke reminded them where they were, sitting on a picnic table in the park.  The rain that had been falling heavily now softened into a gentle mist that faded and dissolved like the underwater cave itself. “I think we will,” replied the girl in the rose dress. “No doubt,” said the white haired boy. “For sure!” the girl in pink squealed with delight, and with that the three friends waved goodbye to the young man, linked their arms together, and made their way back down the concrete walking path alongside the calm shallow waters of the inlet and into the brightest sunlight.

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