It’s been one of those days spent embroiled in fantasy to escape the storm.
A friend of mine called me and told me to get up. Now. Get off the couch. He gave me specific directions. Drive 1.4 miles up the street from your house, past the condos on the beach, and park at the white gate. Walk down the rise to the water and get in. I don’t care what you’re wearing just get in.
I followed instructions. Walked through the hole in the gate and down the drive to an abandoned foundation of a house reclaimed by the sea in Hurricane Ivan. The drive has long been eroded away with holes and eaten edges now claimed by bur grass and sand. There was a single family to the East and clear beach to the West and, still unmoved, I sat down.
My friend, as though stalking me on bbm, said “ok now Bushy, get in.” But there’s a family in the only spot free of grass! “Swim out past the grass. Just do it.” And so I did. But not far. Half-sitting, half-floating in 4 feet of water my body began to relax. Tension eased out of the shoulders as they let go. And then I saw it.
I stood up straight, shocked to see what looked like a head sticking out of the water about six feet out from me. Relieved to find sand beneath my feet I shot up about 2 feet out of the water to see better, and then thinking better of it, I clambered to shore. Squinting out with concentration I watched for it again. And there it was! And another one! I asked two little girls walking the beach if they saw them – did you see that?! They looked at me and smiled at eachother in agreement (this one’s nuts). When I turned they had disappeared.
From the height of the shore, when they reappeared I could see better the graceful animals as they came up for air and dove right back down out of sight before anyone else could see them and believe I was anything but insane. When I was alone again they came up for longer periods, eyeing me as they swam across my view back and forth, their leathery heads and the hint of a shell sparkling as they broke the water. My heart just about burst with a smile, looking at my fellow Caymanian creatures swimming in waters that our ancestors have shared for generations.
Seeing them and feeling the connection as our eyes locked, I walked back into the water with calm and a singing spirit. To any onlookers I must have looked a fool! A woman up to her neck in water blowing kisses and singing to turtles no one else could see.