Adventures of a Sea Creature

For many long years they had lived clasped together in their shell on the bottom of the sea. She could barely remember how it had been before, when she had been adrift on the sandy bottom, looking for a home – until finally she had found the oyster, smiling inside his cozy shell, winking at her. There was plenty of room, and she just moved right in, and neither of them had any doubt.

There they stayed for what seemed eons, snuggling together, only now and then squirming into a more comfortable position, and once in a while breaking the Great Taboo. Then they would find themselves flying to an indescribable place where they would soar into the most intensely sweet bliss… and when they came back they knew for sure that everything was, now and forever, world without end, perfectly fine.

The rest of the time, they watched TV. At rare moments the commercials on TV were interrupted and this Guy with deep, protruding eyes would appear, and talk to them. This was disturbing and comforting all at once. He would remind them that although love was good, there was really more to life. Once he asked them what they would do without the other, should unfortunate events occur…

And sure enough, one day her Beloved died. There was nothing she could do – in his empty body there was nothing of the luminous being she had known. She wept, and sang his soul toward the mysterious Light, and she did believe she saw him fleet away at light speed toward the gleaming empyrean above. Then, leaving the shriveled carcass in its tomb, she began her soft-bodied wanderings again, alone and unprotected but timidly elated…

At first she could hardly remember how to swim. She bungled along, sadly reminiscing about that long, warm clasping of body and soul with someone so beloved, and especially about those moments of piercing revelatory truth when they broke the Taboo…

But that was over now, and she felt a great vacuum inside her, that cried out to be filled. It was not long before she came across a hermit crab, blinking out at her from his shell as he dragged it doggedly across the sands. He looked nice. She flung herself at him, babbling, “I like you! Give me shelter!”

He was happy to make room for her – he had been wandering alone for some time now, and was ready to share his crusty home…

The arrangement lasted for the blink of an eye, and even that was too long. He was really not her old beloved, or anything like. Blushing with guilt and apology, she disengaged herself from the kind creature, and went on her way.

But all was not lost. Slowly she was learning how to swim by herself. As she practiced diving and ascending and wriggling her way through the watery weeds, her body began to change, developing fins and gills. She found delight in flitting hither and thither, learning new moves…

Soon she found herself in a group of swimmers much like herself. What fun they began to have together! They invented new games, and even learned how to swivel themselves upward, closer to the brilliant ceiling of their world, helping each other by sharing new tricks and discoveries…

More and more they found themselves practicing and playing in that high luminous place just below the shining surface.

And one by one they began to pop through that gleaming mysterious ceiling, bursting into the sunshine, gasping in astonishment and discombobulation, and plopping back down again, not knowing where they had been or if they had dreamt it – but wanting to return.

They kept at it. It was arduous work, flinging themselves through that barrier into the unknown, and splooshing clumsily back into the water, over and over again – but they kept working, strangely elated, and encouraged by an occasional dreamlike wisp of memory of what was up there, and by what  others’ thought they remembered…

Their bodies continued to change, and one day they realized that their fins were growing longer, and were beginning to fill out with soft bright-colored stuff. And their words too – they found that they were no longer speaking in bubbles, but in new warbly voices!

Again and again they leapt out of the water and soared and flipped and played singing games, getting stronger and learning to stay up there for longer and longer periods of time. Again and again they plunged back down exhausted, but also eager to tell stories of what they thought they remembered was up there, for new curious swimmers were arriving all the time…

From time to time the sea creature thought about her departed love – she was sure he had grown great luminous wings, and was soaring somewhere, far, far above the lowly heights she could manage. Once in a long time he would come to her in a dream, kindly and joyful, and then she would awake, always without him.

But she was content enough playing with her new friends. A few of the others had begun doing exotic dances together, building nests – but that was not for her. No more nesting. Nevertheless, she thought, why not brighten her plumage, why not enjoy and show off this new colorful and buoyant body? So she began to preen and coo and feel rather sexy.

One day she was out on her morning flight above the gleaming waters and it hit her. She almost fell out of the sky.

This was what that Guy on television had been talking about when he kept saying there was more to life. This, right here and now, was the opportunity, ripe as a luscious peach, to begin a new life. To abandon once and for all the old fears and taboos that used to lurk around their protective shell, while she and her beloved lay cozy inside, watching those commercials… This, now, was the Time!

All at once she knew she was free – no more waiting and hoping, being careful not to defy some hidden prohibition. She could do what she wanted, paint her new life any color of the rainbow, learn to dance for real, and sing full-throated in her joy.

That was why she had been feeling so alive as she flapped her way about alone, that was why she had been daydreaming about finding a new love! But this time not someone to hide away with. She would open herself to some adventurous soul who also wanted to learn to fly free… someone to love without possession and without fear!

For what indeed was there to fear up here in the sunlight – only perhaps a new death, and a new door opening – always opening into a greater, more wondrous Light…

 

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