Friday, February 23, 2007

open water

when i lived in saudi, we used to go camping at the red sea every other weekend. my dad was an avid scuba diver, the rest of the family enjoyed sitting in the sand racing hermit crabs/hot wheels cars (james), playing scrabble/canasta (mum), setting things on fire/reading (me).

my brother and i usually traipsed behind dad across the reef until we reached the edge (about 15 minutes of wading, swimming, and shuffling to avoid sting rays and lionfish). he would swim off the edge and submerge, we would snorkel around the sharp, pokey drop-off looking at rainbow fish, anemones, and spanish dancers swimming amongst the fire coral. we'd try and peek into the little coral caves looking for moray eels, not too closely, just close enough to look brave. every once in a while i would turn my head to look at the great expanse of water behind me; there was nothing immediately visible, detailed, bright or bitey to see. visibility was pretty murky, but i knew somewhere beyond there were all kinds of big, interesting things that i would like to see, even if (or probably because) they had teeth and stingers.

i was mesmerized by the immediate, but i couldn't help but be intrigued by the distant; because i didn't quite know, and i couldn't quite see. i have changed my position in the water, the imagined possibility and unseen is now in front, the obvious and visible to my back.

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