Monday, 11 March 2013

Whales, Morays And The Rewards Of The Path

There will come many days on the path when the rewards of your endeavours leave you breathless.  These are the rewards for pushing through the doubt and the fears, these are the rewards for persevering where others have turned away from finding their own truth, these are the days that tell you that what you are doing, that the path on which you walk, is absolutely the right one for you.  Yesterday, was one such day.

I'll be honest, the previous few days I had been feeling a little low.  I had been mulling over my life, pondering the question of why I look for love in all the wrong places and why that part of my life is so unsuccessful.  I would never say I was in a bad place.  I could not say it was a state of despondency or a depression.  No, it was really just a fleeting feeling that came to me one morning and hung around, clouding my thinking, making me focus on this one part of my life with which I have always struggled.  But what is that one part that is a struggled when compared to the rest?

I had been speaking with Terry and his son Ari at the hotel over the last few days and in talking, we moved on, as is inevitable, to scuba diving.  Terry explained how he had not dived for almost thirty years, and, as he was now sixty nine years old, firmly believed that his scuba diving days were long gone.  I offered him the chance to try scuba in the swimming pool and to see how he felt getting back into the water.  To see this man's smile, splitting his heavily bearded face from ear to ear, was reward enough.  Terry decided he would try diving in the ocean again  Ari, had been involved in a serious snowboarding accident some year back that had almost cost him his life.  His head was fitted  titanium plates and screws that were holding it together and his legs the same.  Ari had not dived since the accident but he was now surfing again and enjoying a normal life.  We decided we would all make a dive together, just a shallow, cautious one, to see how things went.

Yesterday was the day of the dive.  Terry is one of those people who is always happy and laughing and full of life.  He is a joy to be around and is in possession of one of those infectious grins.  You just cannot help yourself but laugh around the man.  Despite not having dived for so long, he was no different on our way out to the dive site.  I had thought that perhaps he would become nervous and show some signs of anxiety, but I could detect none.

On our arrival at the dive site, there, waiting for us at the surface were two pairs of humpback whales.  I've seen whales before here but I had never seen them this close in to the dive sites.  One pair were almost right up against the rock, just a few metres away.  It is an incredible feeling to be so close to some of natures largest ever creatures, to see them basking at the surface, arching their backs, spouting huge plumes of water vapour into the air, putting up their flukes and diving.  Everyone on the boat looked on, enjoying this free spectacle of nature, knowing that what they were seeing and witnessing was something very special indeed.  Eventually, the whales moved off and we made our dives.

Despite the tough conditions of poor visibility and current, Terry never lost his grin and the enjoyment on his face after we surfaced was easily evident. It was clear that Terry had rolled back the years and shaken off all the rust.  As I recall the morning, I can recall certain moments when I could hear Terry laughing under the water.  An amazing man and an inspiration, and for me, the reward for a little perseverance and for taking the time to speak and engage with him.

I saw one other thing during the second dive I have never observed previously.  At Dirty Rock (so called because it is a cleaning station for many different species of marine life) a green moray eel was laying with its mouth stretched as wide open as it could possibly go.  It is usual to see a moray with its mouth open, because the eels use the opening and closing of their mouths to pump water through their gills.  But this moray looked more similar to a cobra that had opened its jaws to take its prey whole.  I was able to look straight into this open mouthed eel and I could not figure out why it was not closing its mouth, until I noticed the two small cleaner fish at the back of its throat.  What this open mouth moray afforded me, was a perfect view all the way inside of its mouth and into its throat, showing me the bones that lined the roof of its mouth, reminding me of the flying buttresses of a cathedral.  I knew that this was perhaps a once in a lifetime experience and that I might never have the opportunity to see a moray in such a way as this ever again.

Yesterday, I was once more reminded of the rewards that come from following your true path.  Not all rewards are the same for every person, but in nature, immersed and surrounded by life, that is where I find mine.  Helping a person to overcome a difficulty and to achieve a personal goal has always been something I have enjoyed.  I see it as an act of kindness and of love.  It is giving something back to the universe.  That is my own nature, I will always do that on instinct, I cannot help but do it.  Sometimes we may question the path and ask what is the purpose, or why does such a thing happen or not happen?  The answer to those questions is simple: everything happens when the time is right and when you are right.  Sometimes, the time is the right time, but there remains a lesson that you need to learn.  Other times, you are ready, but the time is not right.  When it comes together, those are the moments of miracles, when life rewards you for your efforts.  I still have a challenge in my life.  That challenge is to find the special someone who will be my companion on the path.  Perhaps the time is still not right.  Perhaps I am still not ready.  But I do know, that in the meantime, I am being rewarded richly for walking my true path, and for that, I will always be grateful to the universe, to the force that governs all life: nature.  Everything is love and if you know how to look, you will always find it.  And you will see it not with your eyes, but through your heart.

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