I dreamed about a seal pup last night, it was scrawny, groggy and a little snippy – just like I felt. It was the day after my first February swim in the Pacific. My only Feb solo run, the biggest challenge turned out to be getting in and out of my seal skin: a new, custom free-diving wetsuit. My neck is still not 100% healed from the car wreck, cramming my big peanut head through the tiny opening exacted a price that will take a few more days to work out.
I flopped around like you’d expect a seal pup to flop around, until I found some waves to dig into. The powerful buoyancy of the 6.5 mm skin makes it impossible to submerge fully without a weight belt. My fin worked well with the waves, but an extreme amphibious communion it was not.
And yet I was transformed. Thats one of the magical things about giving yourself over to the ocean, no matter how crappy things go, your consciousness is still radically transformed for the better. I sat in my car afterward, massaging my neck and feeling the new softness to my skin. All troubled thoughts were washed away. My cells were humming to the rhythm of the waves.
In my dream the seal pup had just arrived at our home. It looked so ornery and frazzled I was afraid to reach out to touch it, worried I might pull back a bloodied hand. It calmed down and sniffed towards me as I got closer. It seemed to need an ally and sensed one in me.
Time in the Ocean ends the argument about interconnectedness for me. Of course the fish are my ancestors. All I nee to do is to spend a few minutes with them and I remember it. The Ocean lives in me. I would be lost without it.
Am I closer to realizing my goal of becomming an amphibian? Absolutely – but it was a baby step. I frolicked at the edge of my new world, feeling my fin and skin, testing. I can work with this new self. I still don’t know quite where I’m going, but it feels right.
The rains have finally returned – our indian summer is over. Its back to the pool tomorrow, for a few days at least. The bacteria/ecoli levels shoot up after the rains return. The coast is cleansed, protein contents rise, tadpoles like me hide while bigger critters feast.
I’m no longer afraid of February in the Pacific. I know my Selkie ancestors will visit me when I meet them halfway. I’m nursing my neck and biding my time. I’m looking forward to new, rough, cold seas that long lost relatives call home.
Image: NZ Fur Seal Pup by By A. Sparrow from Flickr, used under
a Creative Commons license