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The Rhythm of the Sea



During one of my recent birthday celebrations, I had the delightful opportunity to spend time with dear friends in South Florida. Together, we drove down to the Keys in order to go snorkeling. Prior to this time, I had snorkeled only once in a very small Central Florida spring. So, I did not yet know the extraordinary experience that was awaiting me in the ocean. For, during those inspired moments below, I was to feel deeply humbled and extremely honored. I share with you here of few of the highlights and insights that I gleaned during this journey below.      On the day of this great adventure, my friends and I set off in a big boat near the John Pennekamp State Park. The boat, filled with all kinds of seafaring folks, ferried us out to the edge of the coral reef. We were given safety instructions, as well as, snorkeling tips while being outfitted with our gear. Excitement grew within me as I had truly waited for this one moment for a very long time. And yet, I still had no idea what I was about to witness as I flopped awkwardly yet eagerly overboard.      To my great surprise, the coral reef was nothing like I had imagined. I found this living moving spectacle to be other worldly, serene and breathtakingly beautiful. And, because of this, I had to remind myself, as a novice snorkeler, to keep breathing!!      Somehow I had always pictured coral to be short and stubby, growing together in one massive, monotone clump. The startling splendor of what I actually saw took me aback! For the coral varied greatly in size, shape and color. Tall, tubular coral swayed with fluid elegance, while large, lacy fan-shaped coral appeared to wave to the many other life forms. And, oh my, the colors! Celadon greens, muted mustards, light cocoa browns and a stunning range of purples painted the canvas of this living landscape.      There were also so many fish of varying sizes and patterns moving with ease among the coral. I saw multitudes of tiny fish, a few round fish and colors of all kinds including fish that seemed to glow with a luminescent shimmer. And, much to my relief, no immensely large fish appeared, as had been my unspoken fear. Only small to medium size fish filled the scene - swimming solo, moving in schools and even playing hide and seek among the coral.       But what touched me so deeply was the gentle rhythm of these separate underwater elements. For the fish and the coral swayed collectively in a unified movement as the ocean undulated with currents. Without effort or resistance these life forms gave way to the tempo of the sea. What an inspiring sight to experience. I could not help but wonder how this would help all of us - the people of the land. By letting the silent rhythm of Life move through and around us, could we also be a gentle, harmoniously part of that which so wisely steers the sea? We could even forgo “swimming upstream,” and instead embrace a life going quite literally “with the flow.”       So, as the whistle sounded signaling us all to return to the boat, I reluctantly swam in that direction. I was so tempted to linger longer with my newfound, peaceful finned-friends. But, climb on board I did and return to land with my people with much gratitude and a true change in perspective. And, to this day, I still carry a more harmonious sense of life within me as a reflection of my time in the coral reef just off Key Largo.


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Mary@MaryHayes.org

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