In Which the Red Sea Teaches Me Things

Journal 9.9.17    Soma Bay, Red Sea, Egypt

I left Max to put the baby guy to sleep and headed for the Sea. 15 months since I've been in the ocean. Too long. I've moved to another country, quit my job and had a baby since then. But the Sea is the same. 

The reef is beautiful and I swim a bit too close from time to time, my body stretched tall and thin like superman. Holding my breath. The reef is populated by giant blue clams that flash their ruched insides like skirts of flamenco dancers. If I watch carefully, slowly, I can see them breathing. See their shells open slightly and then close. Their cobalt interior flesh quiver, expand and then retreat. I am particularly mesmerized by a lime green shelled clam and watch it breath for some time. The wind is picking up above water and the clam is speckled with sunlight slanting through water. 

Later I will introduce my baby to the ocean. His Dad will hold him in his lap while waves dribble over their legs, delighting both. But this morning it is just me and the giant clam. Breathing slowly and deliberately. 

I read later the Red Sea coral reefs contain unique species that defy categorization, that are found no where else in the world. As the underlying Arabian and African tectonic plates shift apart, it is expanding, essentially becoming something different every day. The sea is also growing warmer and saltier and experiences frequent turbidity due to sand storms in the region. While these difficult conditions would normally damage reef and dependent life, the Red Sea reefs have adapted over time to become tolerant of the environmental extremes. Thriving even.

When I first wrote this I was riding a moment of new-country-new-mom abundance, but it has been a hard winter. These ideas of resilience and intentionality are much more valuable to me now.