Craig Wisner

The Preposterous Deep.

I lay there floating on my back, arms and legs outstretched, watching a half moon and Orion’s stars roll with the swell from behind the waterspotted lenses of my diving mask. Like a passenger looking out of the windows of my own eyes.

Darkness above, darkness below.

The growing seasickness spreading through my gut and limbs stunted any interest in chasing lobster. A cold sweat was seeping beneath the seals of my wetsuit hood, snorkel feeling tight and restrictive on my breathing.

I could hear the waves breaking rhythmically in the rocks, sound echoing off the cliffs. Getting back in sounded ominous, especially as I was certain I’d be fighting vomit and convulsions by then.

Rolling back over and spitting the snorkel, picking out Rigel and Sirius from my bed of kelp.

Bed of kelp.

I understand now.

Resting in a thick mat of it, its air bladders buoying my arms and legs. Like a bed of slowly writhing leaves and tentacles, if one could somehow be at peace with that.

I turned my light off and I was home, unconcerned with my two partners, bobbing quietly and alone in a blackened sea.

Thirty minutes later I would crawl out on my own, leaving them to continue the hunt. Slithering and dragging onto shore, strands of kelp and eel grass clinging to mask and snorkel and shoulders, hands shaking. The sight of a strange and wounded beast.

Splayed out in the rocks on my back, moonlight reflecting their wet surfaces in a silver, ice-like sheen, I let the tide lap at my fins. Burping and dry-heaving slowly subsiding, relaxing into breath.

Smiling like a fool in love with the world.

The Preposterous Deep.

One response

  1. Tom Kirchner

    Occasionally becoming so intimately enmeshed in the web of life can be profoundly unsettling for sentient beings accustomed to the illusion of control

    November 24, 2020 at 12:27 pm

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