Kurt Bell

A life of courage, joy and independence.

Sea

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I’m so ready to get pummeled again by the sea. So eager to be lifted by waves, churned in their wet maw, and slammed hard against the shore. I can’t wait to move silently through underwater cracks, caverns and caves while the ocean crashes above, sending jets of bubbles below like seeking tentacles. To hold onto sturdy stalks of seaweed while my body is tossed like a rag doll by surging masses of water while big fish hang steady and eye me as a madman. And to bleed into the sea after being thrown against rocks, to watch small red streams lift from my body from flaps of pale skin, to think of sharks, and to say to hell with it and head out to deeper water. It’s a good life this living with and within the sea. Getting younger with joy and satisfaction each day I step foot into the wet.


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Ten feet under above a craggy rock bottom, holding onto a handful of seagrass, trying to coax a large Calico Bass into range of the camera; when suddenly the sea begins pulling away from shore, attempting to drag me with it. I should have gone, let the receding wave-front drag me clear of the rocks to the safety of deep water. Wasn’t thinking…. Missed my chance.

Still underwater, lungs beginning to ache, the ocean suddenly stopped moving…but just for a second. And then the river began flowing back to shore, pulling me in towards the rocky shallows. The seagrass bent flat against the rocks, water streaming over the top. The fish were gone. The grass I was holding tore from the seabed, and I went hurtling like a man dropped from a building. The wave hadn’t even broken yet, was simply a giant watery mass moving to fill an atmospheric void. I bounced off two large boulders, leaving bruises on my leg and arm. Suddenly the wave exploded close to the rocky shore, five feet beyond my feet. I was out of range, and suddenly safe as the river of sea water abruptly stopped moving. I kicked hard for deep water, shooting through a channel where the big fish had already returned. Up to the surface, and a big gulping breath of liberty. That’s what I get for being careless with nature. That’s what I get for turning my back on the deep end of sea.

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