Using a writers prompt, I penned these words and posted them elsewhere previously. May they bring you some of the peace that they brought me this day.
"Write a one-page description of what it would be like to swim with dolphins."
It seems like more than a few years ago. I stood on the bridge spanning the inlet at St. Augustine, Fl. Statuary of regal lions poised themselves as sentries guarding access, an access now in no need of guards, concrete or otherwise, a mere gateway from one tourist infested section of the town to another.
That evening, late, I stood on the crest of the low bridge and gazed blankly into the grey swirl of sea below. Small caps of sea foam occasionally formed and then faded, improbable punctuations, a writer's words quickly deleted returning the emptiness to the page. I had been unable to write for weeks. My mind blank, no, so filled with images and sensations falling over each other in chaos that no assembly of words could seem to contain my thoughts. So there the formless confusion of my mind was met by its reflection there in the dark sea.
The first one almost escaped my attention. A thin slice of light grey broke the ocean plain, a small twist of foam, and it was gone. I strained to see. I heard the song. At first I thought it was the wind carrying children's voices, softly to my ears. Then I saw them, dolphins. They swam below me, hiding just beneath the sea's veil, shadows, wisps of silver form. I leaned over the railing, dangerously far. They circled below me, entwining among themselves. There where three of them, two adults and a small one. They seemed unaware of anything but their own dance. What grace and poise they created with movements so fluid and quick; touches so gentle and tender.
I fell. Somehow my foothold failed and although I grabbed hold of the rail, my body already hung over the side and my one handed grip wasn't enough. I tumbled the few feet and into the surf. I felt the sting of the water's chill. It had barely warmed from these early spring days. Something brushed my side and I felt myself being pushed toward the surface. I lifted my head to the night air, rubbed the salt water from my eyes, and as I began to tread water, was astonished to see the smallest of the trio of dolphins floating just inches from my face. It rolled onto one side, exposing one eye to the surface and lifting a fin as if to wave. I laughed. I heard them sing again. A gentle high note that seemed to hang in the air and settle in my soul, even more, it settled my soul.
The two adults were on each side of me now, and as I shifted my weight and began floating on my back, I could feel them moving around me. Soon, there dance included me. I joined them. I swam gently, rolling my body with the shift of the currents, allowing my hands to touch them and then the sea. I closed my eyes and listened to their song and swam with them.
Perhaps it was the caress of the sea, or the magic of the moment, or maybe just the release of my daily constraints, but, my head spun in delight and I felt a drug-like euphoria rise within my being. I was at once lost in bliss and fully present with myself.
Later, they bid me farewell and I felt a bit of sadness as they vanished into the darkness of the night and the vastness of the sea. I know that I found something that night. For even now, years later, I can close my eyes, breathe in the smell of the sea, and hear their song, the song I learned the night I swam with the dolphins.