Authority of Descent


“MAYA”, 1998, 5′ x 3′, m/m
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I remember being on vacation once and the sea tossed me hard and long as I scraped the bottom and lost track of the direction I needed to go in to breathe.

I was down there too long and suddenly I realized I no longer needed breath; I was absolutely fine. More than fine.

When I did make it up for air I thought: “Did I breathe underwater? What the hell just happened here?”

I never did answer that question.

I think because the mystery of it all was bigger than the urge to have an answer that was right.

I see now it was a dollop of grace.

One I’ve used repeatedly over the years since.

There are those of us with the draw to dive deep.

No matter what the outcome, we continually go after the pressure that builds and the work it takes to remain conscious as we explore depths unknown to but a few.

Down there we see stuff.

Feel things.

Change to meet the unfamiliar depths.

We resurface different.

Our whole being wraps itself around the challenge of uncharted territory and we push aside the loneliness of each step because we can.

My own proclivity has always been to move toward the deep.

Now, as I have the companionship of a chronic illness it takes me a bit longer to suit up but I continue to dive and be glad of it.

The weight of the illness actually helps me go deeper faster and stay there longer.

Sure, there are hardships to endure and exhaustion; overload of new information, decompression and the constant effort to reacclimate to everyday life as I rejoin the land lovers.

But I still go in. Have to go in. And see what I can effect by doing, thinking, being different.

I think it is worth the effort.

I don’t honestly know how to do it differently.

So should you ever need to know how to breathe underwater, gimme a call and I’ll tell you everything I know.

You’ll likely be disappointed as the stuff I know doesn’t come easy to the telling of it.

But if you close your eyes for a moment you likely can feel a bit of the chill of the deep.

It feels good I’m told, on a hot and humid day.

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One Response to “Authority of Descent”

  1. Mary Gerdt on June 20th, 2010

    This is such a great description.Nice.

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