From a young age I knew that nature was my connection to the divine. Roaming in her beauty has always been my form of church and this morning sermon was life changing. I know is may sound like a grand statement for a simple morning paddle out in the ocean, but it feels like I had been waiting for this experience for a very long time.
I took my English friend’s family out on the water this morning. There was quite a swell in the water and I almost had to add on the “heart attack surcharge” for getting them out of the gauntlet of our cove. There was four of us who paddled out and once a little off shore, one family member was ready to head back in. Andy being the good brother he is, paddled back in with his sister. With Andy paddling back to shore, I continued to paddle out to check on the other family member. As I ventured into the endless spans of ocean, I could see a very fast moving pod of dolphins. They were also pretty far off shore so I was kind of bummed I wouldn’t be able to say hi to them as they passed our cove.
Before I knew it, they were much closer and I was drawn to them like a shark to chum…OK, bad analogy, but you get my point. Upon approaching them I realized that this was no typical fast moving pod but a full-on feeding session with pelicans, sea lions, water ducks and dolphins. I have been on the ocean in some capacity almost all my life and I can say I have NEVER seen or been able to capture the show that mother nature was putting on this morning.
The pelicans were b-line diving straight into the water within inches of our boards. The sea lions were playfully gliding in and out of the water. They didn’t even seem to be too concerned about catching breakfast, maybe more happy just to be part of the fray. Believe me is was nothing short of a fray unfolding in front of us, underneath and all around. We were literally surrounded by sea life. There were about 12 dolphins and even a brand new baby that couldn’t have been bigger than my forearm positioned safely next to her mom for the whole event. The amazing part is that I was right in the middle of this feeding for at least 20 minutes. They didn’t mind me there and they actually stayed because of my presence…all right it was the fish, but still.
So back to what made this encounter not your typical encounter. Usually when I have paddled into a pod or the pod has traveled past me, they are there for a moment and then continue on their journey. It’s always been a fleeting interaction. This morning they stayed or rather they let me stay and get a front row view of a feeding frenzy. It was so intimate. I could very clearly see the variation of the colors on the sides of their bodies, which I always thought was grey but this morning it looked to be shades of a light brown tone.
Four of the dolphins would take off side by side turn belly up, in perfect coordination and skim the top of the water and my board within inches. I was in total awe of their grace and agility. They weren’t performing, they were being the full embodiment of their dolphin-ness and it took my breath away. I was immersed in their energy and at times felt like I was part of the pod. We all moved with the current of the ocean together. I was never far from the center and hardly used my paddle at all. A few times I put my hands into the water and could feel their graceful bodies graze my longing to make contact.
I know that a lot of people “love dolphins” but I have always felt my connection to them comes from somewhere deeper. I have had dreams about dolphins, whales and sea life off and on since I was a little girl. I remember being at my grandparent’s beach house when I was young and waking early to see the dolphins frolicking in front of the ouse. Without a second thought I dove into the ocean, family asleep, me in my pajamas, to get close to them. The draw to them is something I can’t explain.
As a yoga teacher, I understand that consciousness has the ability to unfold herself as anything and everything. I feel nothing short of completely honored and humbled by what I witnessed in the ocean. I had an amazing sense that even if this morning’s experience was the last for me on earth I would be totally content. The majesty of those animals, this morning with them will be held fibers of my being-ness forever. Nature is and will always be my place to remember that connection to everything.