Mermaid in training

The Mermaid - Howard PyleI recently returned from the Costa de Azahar, having spent two weeks engrossed in my own version of a sensory deprivation tank. The beach was quiet enough to forgot everything around me. Dipping head first in the water, I stayed under for as long as I could. Mindless as a piece of seaweed, ancient as the movement of the planets, I floated in tune with the current, letting it take me where it wanted.The ocean whispered its secrets, which I promptly forgot as soon as I rose to the surface.

Down I went again, limbs like a starfish, hair like seaweed, happy in my inarticulate nothingness.

It felt fantastic to just be. To exist in silence and not be impeded by thought or deed. In the water, I didn’t need to be eloquent. I was driftwood. The tide  content to tow us both along, wood and human, faithful only to the moon and the cosmos.

I tried to speak at first, but the wind blew away all the words I’d carefully collected, scattering them over the sand like pretty seashells. The sea doesn’t care about words, said the tide.

If you want to be a mermaid you have to learn to shut up and be still.

If you had seen me at the bottom of the ocean, you would not have seen serenity, but the face of someone who has been told to keep quiet. Words are like salt crystals, shiny as diamonds, but coarse on the tongue. You struggle to speak because you know deep down that nothing you say is as true or as awe-inspiring as silence.

The sea was cruel but it had a point, so I practiced learning how to be still.

By the end of the holiday, I had managed to ditch my brittle carapace. It remained behind in the sand, while my new iridescent self leapt gracefully in the water, swimming along with the tide.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *