There are surely people whose souls are connected to water, or in more secular terms, who are more at peace when near the sea. There are others who crave the whispering of tree leaves in the wind and the way a golden afternoon sun splashes its way across the forest floor. Others look for drama, and you sense that their souls are like fire, constantly burning and looking for trouble, or at least, a way to explode onto the scene. And others still who are only home with the sounds of traffic and the smell of a soft pretzel truck on the street corner. Unfortunately, many of us spend our days far from the place that centers us, focuses our thoughts, inspires us, and gives us peace.
Today, on Harbour Island, I watched my nine-year-old son in his element – the water. It is the place where he is most comfortable in his own skin, where he is most willing to take risks, and where he seems happiest. He is this way in the pool or whenever we head to the beach. He spent five straight hours in the sea at the point where the waves break. He leapt into them, let them crash over him, dove under them. Even when he was not swimming, he was lying in the shallow low tide making mud pies, the water still washing over his tanned body.
You could stand next to him without being noticed for minutes at a time. And then suddenly, he would see you standing there, grin at you, and dive under another wave. He is perfectly content to battle the waves alone, rarely turning to look for the rest of us to join him in his play.
This is a boy who rarely pushes the envelope. He stays close to home. He follows the rules. He is quiet. He moves slowly. In the water, however, he is independent and confident and even daring.
Back at the house, I joked that he must have been a fish in a previous life, or will be in the next. He looked at me seriously, as if he had already considered it, “Then I hope I’m a whale shark. Nobody eats a whale shark.”