Friday, September 29, 2017



“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), It’s always our self we find in the sea.” ee cummings

I think I was a sophomore in college when I learned the little darwinian evolution factoid about dolphins, and other cetaceans, about how their bone structure shows that they were once land mammals who chose to return to the sea.
At least, that’s how I think of it.
 They tried and tried to get around, their bellies dragging the ground, hind legs weakly propelling them forward, lungs taking in shallow breaths until they’d finally had it, took the world for their own and went back into the sea. While everyone else was writhing and flopping and struggling in the mud and bracken to get a grip on land, these guys were going back to where they belonged.
Their brains grew big. They learned to play. They nursed each other’s pups and had sex for fun and even fought each other because community is hard. They held on to oxygen and stayed committed to resurfacing because vulnerability is good. They made their own rules. They talked to each other using their own secret language. They gave up walking erect and building tall buildings and getting rich on the stock market and earning Phds in exchange for dorsal fins, powerful tails, mass, and weightlessness.
Take the meds. Do the CBT. Show up for the meetings and drink good coffee. My breathing will still be shallow. My existence will still feel pointless. When folks come racing from the waves to pour cool buckets of salt water over my skin, I’ll still feel a guilt that I am wasting their time.
I’m a terrible swimmer. My mom made us all take swimming lessons. I stayed in level 4, the freestyle level, for two summers, never quite understanding the rhythm of deep inhale in, hold, and release. I never trusted the water to hold me. The undertow scares me. College summers I stayed on the beach while friends did handstands on the sandbars.
Still. I’ve promised to remain. Somewhere out there, there are dolphins cresting and breaching and porpoising and seeing each other through their sounds, calling out, claiming the sea, life, flesh, me.

And it's a promise I keep breaking. And have to keep making.
Bring on the bucket brigades. I need you. I'll do my best to trust you're not wasting your time.

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