It was my first day in Little Bay (Philipsburg, St. Martin, Dutch Antilles); my first day in paradise. Clear water, velvet-soft sand, piña colada paradise. In the turquoise water I felt at ease and breathing under water was natural; as if breathing on land had been strenuous training for the simplicity of this moment. I saw past the goggles on my face, and the presence of the rubber tube in my mouth vanished; the snorkel was but an extension of my lungs as I glided through the calm saltwater.
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The rhythm of nature is music you feel, and with every breath of ocean air, my heart beat became synchronized to that of the tides. As I brushed my hand along the floor of the ocean, the pebbles tumbled without urgency; like strumming a Gibson in harmony with the current. I swam to the constant melody of inhaling the salty air from above, and exhaling thoughtful sighs into the light breeze atop the water. The dance of the colorful fish only added to the surreal and exotic melody of it all. And for a moment I was completely still. Absorbing the natural concerto performing around me, hanging onto every note played by the water.
Suddenly this ode to the ocean was cut short by the spike of a sea urchin the color of midnight. Captivated and distracted by the lackadaisical tune, I had pressed my finger to it lightly, not anticipating the painful consequences. The sting was like the screech of a stylus on a record player, putting an abrupt stop to your favorite vinyl.
I had been reeled in by the elegance, the diversity, the beauty; in awe of the nature around me. Yet, it was amongst this serenity, that I experienced the unremitting power of nature. A reminder that like a grain of sand in the continuous force of the ocean’s tides, I am but a small part of a much greater life. The music of paradise can’t be heard during every moment in life, so we might as well dance to it when we can.
And in that moment, surrounded by nothing, but the beauty of the deep blue sea, I heard an Ode to the Ocean.
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