Tuesday, April 24, 2012

open seas

Over the weekend, I took some time aside from 'normal' life, to check out a travelling photographic exhibition. The photos were of nature; animals and landscapes of the most amazing quality. I could be seen wandering around the temporary gallery, oohing and ahhhing, commenting in awe - as if talking amongst friends - but it was just me, the frames, the walls and the cornered worlds they created.

One stunning black and white image of a whale underwater caught my attention, and reminded me of something from long ago.

When I was a little girl, my Dad worked from an office complex that shared its space with many varied businesses. One of the neighbouring offices had the most beautiful image hanging from its wall - and every time I would visit my father, I would stand mesmerised by this photographic print. I can see it now - black and white image - white boarder, thin black frame - it was enormous (or perhaps it just looked so, to a small me). The photo was of a perfectly symmetrical whales tail, breaching the surface in an almighty wave of water. I thought it was amazing. I used to look at it and think that someday I'd like to see a sight like that myself, for real. Even back then, I recognised how a photo could capture a moment so wonderful, magical, that it could move me to take a step back in awe. While the photo amazed me, the scale of it scared me, and even now I can't think about it, or look at a similar image, without a quickening of my heart.


I shouldn't have any particular affinity with the sea - I practically live in the desert and I'd barely scrape double digits if I had to count the times I have swam in the ocean.  Still, I love to watch it when I can.  I love thinking about the world that exists beneath the surface - where creatures like these rule. (Which is why I fucking hate seeing the Japanese hunt them for their "experiments" - it's a disgrace... however, for another time). The ocean makes me feel small, it reminds me that beyond the decisions and actions of individual people, beyond my mind - there are forces much greater than us - it humbles me, and strangely comforts me.

I have been drowning in my own seas of late - within the depths of my mind.  Sometimes I can feel so far out in the deep, I forget that there is land, or that there will be again. I have felt vulnerable, that perhaps I'd perish - tired of treading the water. As my feet begin to find land now, I start to recognise the way forward - I might stumble, but I will continue to move. I have been thrown a life jacket - and I feel silly for thinking at the time that I might never make it from the waves, for thinking I was alone out there. But, I think perhaps at one time or another, we are all swimming - we all have our seas, some deeper than others.


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