It was an early July morning in the tiny island of Grand Turk. I made my way to the glimmering sand and the turquoise water. Just a week before, I was a new person to this island, with much to learn about the place. I had never seen wild horses, donkeys, chickens or cows roaming about dirt roads before. I had never watched a native crack fresh conch and serve it to hungry people. I had never had a wild potcake follow me around on the beach. All the new things made the island one of my favorite places.
When I got to the beach, I climbed into the small boat and greeted the other divers. I pulled my wetsuit on and put together my scuba unit, checking the gauges and adjusting the tank valve. The boat started to move as I finished and I sat down to enjoy the cool breeze. The salty air hit my face and pushed at my long hair. When the boat came to a stop, I strapped the heavy tank onto my back and sat on the edge of the boat. I pulled the goggles onto my face and stepped into the fins. After a few breaths from the regulator, I fell backwards off the boat. The heavy equipment suddenly became weightless and I felt like I was floating through the water. I started to swim, looking into the water with my blue goggles. The bottom of the ocean was covered in silky white sand, and a few green underwater plants dotted the area. As we swam farther out, we came near a great coral reef. Beautiful fish in all different colors, shapes and sizes swam swiftly past the red, purple, green, blue, and yellow coral. A sea turtle munched on sponge that had grown on a huge, weathered anchor. A sand dollar rested at the bottom, nestled in the soft sand. I picked up a sea urchin and its purple and white spines stuck to my palm and made me smile. I swam to the bottom of the ocean and picked up a shard of violet sea glass. Its smooth edges were worn down from being underwater for so many years. White rays of light from the hot summer sun penetrated the salty water, making the ocean bright. A ray surged forward, away from its hiding place under a blanket of sand and pebbles. Tall coral stood like trees and a batfish swam up to me. A few feet away, a sly barracuda grinned at me, showing me its many carnassial teeth. I Although I felt that I should have been scared at that moment, everything seemed perfect and this shielded me from fear.
The experience of being in the ocean was so calm and peaceful. Being in the ocean was relaxing and swimming among the sea life with all of my worries far behind me was a form of meditation. Being surrounded by tranquility so real that only the present was important, not the past or the future. Hearing my own steady breathing. Feeling more alive than ever, but at the same time, feeling like I was in a beautiful dream. This, I believe, was the true meaning of enjoying life.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.