Friday, November 10, 2006

Getting a Hold of Your Story

5:30 am and 77 degrees. Coffee is nearly done. It is my true inspiration.
I love sharks. They fascinate me. As a photographer, I am rarely in any photographs. This was taken in Belize when I was working on a Caribbean coastal ecology class through SDSU.
My friend S. said before the dive. "Let me take a picture of you - I don't understand your camera but just set it, show me what to push, and hand it to me."
What a friend.
Our guide knew no english. It didn't matter. We were experienced divers who were bilingual in both Ocean and Bubbles.
We needed no translator.
The guide - I don't even know his name - was intimately acquainted with all the creatures found in his dive area. Lethargic Nassau groupers ate out of his hand. Tiny scarlett damsel fish gathered at his fins and hid under his shadow.
And the sharks.
Nurse sharks are not known for their aggressive behavior, but neither are they common household pets.
This one was. It was if he sought out his friend.
"How you doing?"
"Where have you been?"
"How are the kids?"
He demanded to be scratched under the belly and wanted to be held. He positively snuggled into my arms. If I close my eyes now I can still feel the weight, the hard muscles of his quivering body.
His blue eye stared fixed, unblinking up at me.
S. had already taken my camera off my arm and proceeded to snap this picture.
I will never forget it.
The shark is like my story.
Starts out as a frightening idea.
The unknown. Blank pages. An amorphous cloud couched in vague mind-speak.
As you create your own particular strands of words, it takes on a cohesive form.
Soon you are intimate with it and like a lover or shark, it snuggles deep into in your arms.
And it is yours.
That is my story.

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