Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Diving Back In

Today, I took my first ocean swim in three months. I sharply inhale as I entered the water, feeling a bit brave for striding straight into the cool blue of the Indian Ocean. Within seconds I feel warm, refreshed, and much more alive. I have never been a swimmer - nor, I freely admit, an athlete - but from the first day early last September that I decided to swim the length of our beach, I took to it like the proverbial fish to water.  

my view aquatic
I crave this time in the ocean. I don't have many quiet moments in my day, but the 45 minutes I steal to swim are guaranteed to be peaceful and beautiful. Alone with my thoughts, I'm able to think clearly for at least a little while. A cyclone and a Mauritian summer of storm after storm deprived me of these swims, as our little beach became filled with seaweed and I learned the hard and painful way of the microscopic jellyfish that become tangled in the ocean greenery. It eventually became difficult to even walk on our beach, the waves depositing a solid green and brown blanket of seaweed all along the shoreline. But now, luckily, our beach looks like our beach again, just in time for winter (and our dear friends who are visiting next month).  

As I push through the water, I consider my view. The water is crystal clear and tourquoise, and I can see 12-14 feet below me to the coral along the floor of our lagoon. On one swim, back in December, I saw a huge marlin swim beside me about 10 feet away. My speed increased exponentially to give me a much better workout than I intended! Luckily, the time I saw a huge ray fly out of the water and dive back in, I was standing at the shore with my little family. The fish must enjoy human company, as they don’t seem to mind you as you borrow their playground. So far, anyway. 

Along the shore I try to count the coconut trees but my efforts are wasted as I lose count quite quickly. There are evergreens that grow along our beach, too, with long, feather-like branches and tiny prickly seeds that fall to the sand and painfully remind you of their existence. Then there’s that sky. Perfectly blue, full of white fluffy clouds and the occasional airplane filled, I’m sure, with excited travellers already in love with the sight of this little island paradise below them.
With each subconscious stroke, my mind wanders further. I contemplate that we have only 3 months left here. I’m trying to savour each remaining day. Trying not to take anything for granted. Trying not to waste a moment. At the same time I’m trying to mentally prepare for what is ahead: not only prioritizing the huge task sorting and packing, but also the more emotional side that comes with every move. Not just my emotions, either, but that of our five-year-old, who I know will be very sad to leave some people behind.

It’s difficult to balance the feeling of excitement and anticipation, of the impending comfort of returning to what is familiar and, let’s face it, convenient. There will be much to miss here:  friends we’ve made, places we visit, and, of course, these stunning beaches and mountains. But there is also much to look forward to: visiting family and seeing old friends, returning to favourite haunts and discovering new places that popped up in our absence. And, of course, always in the back of our minds is our next international adventure: Mexico. 

I have some new plans and goals for the coming year and I’m looking forward to embarking on these adventures. It’s a bittersweet time; transitions usually are. But by the end of my swim I feel a renewed sense of purpose, clearer in my thoughts, and very appreciative of this crazy, incredible adventure I’m living.  

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