Monday, May 26, 2008
in which the fish turns the earth and hears sounds in the deep
I knew the whale was there, ages before I saw it.
Jane won’t believe this, but it’s true.
A vast indigo shape humped speckled noise on the periphery of my sight.
I felt it, long before the boat arrived and nosed around.
I felt its vast bulk sliding by, far away. The waves from fanning flukes touched me on the face, all the way in the sandy shallows.
I spent most of Sunday underwater. I hadn’t meant to, just I swam a lazy mile and of course felt like playing just a bit longer so I decided to Turn The World for a bit.
Turning the world is a phenomenon where you are able to run, staring down at the sand with its meniscus of silver sea, and run run run and you are able to speed up the rotation of the earth with your feet. The world spins faster as you run!
I skimmed along the wet flat with the oblique sun shining on that luminous sandskin, turning the world for a while. This made my heart thump really hard and my cheeks burn and next thing I ran all the way in and found myself in the middle of a very angry fountain of sand: the sea was raking it up into clouds of brick red and lavender, scraping my skin and scalp, making such a racket of roar and hiss. Every other wave lapped down laden with creamy foam, then back to a spray of sand-filled fizz. Like a catalogue, a history of me. Wave by wave.
Here was a history of my life in waves: here the one that made my nose itch. The one that washed the grit off. the one that pinned me down, the one my dad carried me over, the one that seized my pink crocheted pants and carried them off. All the waves. All the times I spent , all mornings, all afternoons.
The history lesson was beginning to make my eyes sting. Out feet first to where it is hushed and quiet. Even the boys dancng with the sea make barely a hiss, and tis here I hear whale motion. Just a tiny spot out there. I began to wonder why I hadn’t seen any whales pass by, I mean, almost winter and here I am with hot salted nostrils and not a whaleplume in sight.
Here are garfish in clouds, needling their way to nowhere I know, their eyes in permanent surprise.
The sand whiting like to pretend that they are very nonchalant, but believe me, they are too stupid to even finish a sentence. Garfish at least pretend they have manners as they needle their way from one patch of blue to another with such serious intent.
My cheeks burning, and I will tell you a secret:
And that is,
I am afraid exhilarated terrified.
Don’t breathe a word, but I swim hard in fear or my life, for fear of cracking my bones clambering up the dark face afraid I will be held suspended at the top like a fat black salamander then thrown to the bottom and cracked open like a split skink. I dive myself through so hard that I am airborne for two metres. I hide on the bottom from the thunder. I hear things far away. The garfish circle me like a silver crown, but I flip and dart and plummet through the water with the arched back of the hysteric.
Eyes burning , cheeks pink, when I emerge black and shiny Jane is there.
I go back out to play together with jane for a while, she with her bones light as a bird and flowers disappearing here and there, smiling at bream and looking around with sky coloured eyes. Whale bone, bird bone , needlenosed garfish, Jane disappears in the lavender froth and comes up in the quiet spot, a fuschia dash in a dark green sea.
It is late in the afternoon. It is remarked that my eyes look so blue because they are so rimmed with red, the salt has burnt me, but still I am able, standing on the edge of the water, to see finally, the plume of the Southern Right Whale as it breaches in the deep. We all see it then.
I think about something that occurs to me quite often, the notion of faith, of belief in the unseeable. And the love we send out into the depths, in the faith it will be received, and having been received, swims on.