I was born in the sign of water…and it’s there that I feel my best. Cool Change, Little River Band
That’s the song I’ve been singing (if you can call it that) all last week – my birthday week. I am an Aquarius, but I guess I’m not much of an astrologer. Aquarius is not the sign of water. But, I don’t care – I am claiming the Sign of Water anyway. Or maybe letting it claim me. Because over and over again, water-especially ocean water has drawn me – back to where I feel my best.
I’ve also been warbling Jackson Brown’s “Rock Me on the Water.” The part about “I’ll get down to the sea somehow…”
**BTW, I think these are two of the best ocean songs ever. And I have a list. **
It hasn’t always been easy, practical, or even possible to get there- down to the sea. There have been years I haven’t seen the ocean, times I have tried to tell myself it’s not that important.
But, I’ve always returned again and again, back to where I belong.
These days, getting down to the sea is as easy as hopping on my bike. It’s only 2 miles away. But more and more often, I get grumpy if I don’t go every day. And I don’t want to just see it; I want to be in it, on it, under it, a part of it.
It’s like a religion. And, if nature has always been my church, then the ocean is a cathedral.
At 17, I wanted to be a marine biologist. I knew one and he was cool. I’d been scuba diving in California and I was hooked. Then, in my early college years, I met physics and calculus, keg parties, and people who told me I would never get a job as a marine biologist and I wouldn’t make any money if I did, and even then I’d probably only get to work with algae.
Hmmph. I didn’t have a plan B. I couldn’t think of anything else I wanted to be. (Nothing I dare mention-writer? Artist?) “Are you sure you don’t want to be a nurse?” I was asked. I was sure. I didn’t. So I quit school.
And went to a cattle ranch in Wyoming. I liked horses, heck, I drove a mustang. Career cowboy could be my plan B, no school required. I knew a cowboy -my aunt J.C.- and she was cool. I stayed awhile. I liked it. But the landscape was sorta dry and brown…and white. Brrr. There was no ocean. In fact, the only water was a stock tank.
So I sold the mustang and bought a ticket to Spain. There was no plan C, no career idea, no educational benefit, but I did get to see the ocean in another country.
When, I got home, I had no car, no job, no degree, no place to live and no plan at all. I moved in with my mom. Hmmph. “Are you sure you don’t want to be a nurse now?” I was asked again. Still no.
What could I do that had water, preferably salt water, animals …Hmmph.
I got a job as a bartender. Then I saw the info-mercials on daytime TV for veterinary technician school. Good pay, save animals, the commercial told me. Sounded good. I loved animals. (BTW, Never believe the info-mercials).
I had another great idea. I would be a vet tech at a ZOO. They had dolphins there. A dolphin nurse or even a trainer is close to a marine biologist. Maybe. So I did an internship at a zoo. And I got to swim with the dolphins. I think it was probably the first time I even SAW a dolphin short of TV. And when the internship was over, I wanted nothing whatsoever to do with the zoo. I didn’t even go to a zoo for years.
I became a dog nurse. In intensive care. That’ll wear you out -what with all the rainbow bridges and being indoors. In Minnesota. Lots of water, but it’s not salty.
I settled for getting my ocean fix on visits to family in Florida. There was the ocean, but somehow it didn’t seem as real as the one I remembered in California. Not as wild. There were lots and lots of people and strip malls and I hate shopping. But I keep going back and getting salty. And, I finally saw dolphins how they should be. Wild.
Life took some twists and turns from there. Ok, lots of twists and turns. Now I’m the secretary for a blacktop paving company. Eight months of the year in Minnesota.
I’ve been back to California. and back again. and again.
Florida is now home all winter and I’ve found the wild side of it. It was there all along. Behind the strip malls, there are sting rays and manatee, sea turtles, and lots and lots of wild dolphins.
The more time I spend near it, the more the ocean seems to be in my blood- it never let go of me.
Here’s what’s goin on lately as I attempt to get closer to it, in it, on it, under it…all the while ignoring this blog. And my book.
The book I’m writing is about the ocean.
I dream about water all the time.
I carry a blue marble in my pocket.
Joining a shamanic dolphin whisperer on a swim with wild dolphins vacation is on my bucket list.
I asked (on FB) if you would rather have wings or gills or fins. Why can’t we have them all?
I’ve gone from kayaking to paddleboarding to asking the question “How old is too old to learn to surf?”
I’ve been scuba diving and snorkeling in the past, but just got a Mono-fin. Which makes me ask the question “Would a mermaid tail make me look fat?”
Don’t ask. Stay tuned for future posts. There will be photos.