We had just arrived at the dive site. Or the snorkeling site in my case. I wasn’t licensed or trained or certified or qualified or whatever-ified enough to strap on one of those big metal cans of air AND a weight belt to make sure you sink enough so you can go down and look at the fish. Nope, I was strictly an ameteur fish looker atter. Except we really weren’t going to look at fish. Well, if we did see any fish, which were likely as we were at the second largest reef in the world, they would be secondary.Â Yep, we were big game hunters, er, lookers. We were going to swim with sharks. When we heard about this while on dry land it sounded safe enough. “Sure, everybody does it!” He said. “Yes, of course, they’re completely safe!” He said.Â Funny how that seemed to be less relavent as we were suiting up to dive in. You could see the sharks just below the surface, swimming around, big dark shapes of death moving constantly. Slowly. Waiting. “Are you sure it’s safe?” I asked, suddenly wishing I had decided to attend the Aztec Ruins excursion. “Yea, just jump in!” He said. I wasn’t too sure. Sharks were bad right? They ate people, right? Jaws was a shark, right? And why was our boat captain wearing such a funny hat? It sure didn’t look like a boat captain hat, although I’m not really sure what boat captain hats are supposed to look like. It just didn’t fit the image I’d had in mind.
Kind of like when I first arrived in Scotland. It was a friday night, I had no clue where to go, what to do. And everybody was wearing these funny hats. Well not everybody, some people had on hats that looked kind of normal.Â But at the time I wasn’t interested in hats. I apparantly hadn’t remembered to plan well, becaue I wasn’t supposed to meet my friends from Texas for another two days. I don’t know why it didn’t dawn on me that I should probably plan ahead and book a hotel or something. I suppose I could find a hotel, but I didn’t really know where anything was. So I wandered around, past some park that was famous for some guy doing something that helped Scotland out in their past. And on the side of the park were a bunch of people singing and drinking and playing a guitar. I guess everybody all over the world knows how to have fun. They seemed to give off a really good vibe when they asked me to join them, but I passed. I was tired, and needed a place to sleep. I’d been traveling for about twenty hours. Then I saw him. And older guy. Much older. The kind of person that you imagine hates young people for some reason.Â He kept eyeing me. Maybe he wanted something? Maybe I looked like the guy that got his daughter pregnant and then left her at the alter?Â Who knows. He started walking towards me. Staring. Not shifting his eyes. Not even wearing a funny hat. He kept coming closer and closer, but I was tired, I was wearing a heavy backpack, and I just didn’t have the energy to put up a fight.
Similar to times when you don’t know what’s going on, and you just give in, and trust yourself. Like once during an acting class the teacher had us stand up on a table and fall foward into the waiting arms of our clasmates. All we had to do was trust strangers to help and support us as we fell. It was a pretty cool exercise. Another similar one was wear I was at a really wierd seminar, and this guy kept saying stuff like “trust is the secret, trust is the secret,” or something like that. There we had blindfolds on, and people led us around and instructed us to fall backwards into a chair without checking to make sure there was one there before we fell.Â That wasÂ a fantastic experiene. Kind of when you just let go and for some reason can allow yourself to have faith that everything will be allright.
“Son, you look lost!” the old guy said, in the best Sean Connery Impersonation I’ve EVER heard, suddenly busting out a suprisingly full toothed grin. “Uh, yea,” I responded, relieved that he didn’t follow up hisÂ Sean Connery accent with some licensed to kill techniques.Â “Come with me……” I didn’t catch anything of what he said after that, as it was thick with local dialect and idioms that had I understood, IÂ never wouldÂ have forgotten. Twenty minutes later he led me to a row of Bed and Breakfasts. Five minutes after that IÂ found myself immediately slipping into a nice peaceful sleep after slipping into someÂ wonderfully soft and inviting sheets.
Just likeÂ when I let goÂ of the railing and slipped into the water.Â Not really slipped, more like splashed. And funny thing. As I plunked into the water, it seemed to startle the sharks. It seems they were more afraid of me than I was of them. They were only Nurse Sharks, and mostly fed on crabs and other stuff off the bottom. Another cool thing was after was able to realize that my fears were false I was really able to open my mind, and really appreciate the beauty that I otherwise would have missed due to my fears.
How many ways can you imagine being able to notice beauty around you when you release some of your fears?