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  • In my family we have been diving as long as any of us can remember.

    I don't know if it was the specificity of birth. We, by freak of nature have the kind of lungs that can take you deep, deep down and just sit. Like that bed was made for breathing. You'd think we had some secret, the way we linger down there. I was six when I started. Red suit, military precision, determined brow. In that world, you know exactly who the sharks are.

    Underwater playground. I'd have given up my land leg's if I could. There's a dance below, that if you've never seen, I can't really describe. A little, little speck in the vastness of the blue, with air above you - not around. Sound that hits your through your skin, beings that know you by the awkwardness of your swim. No matter how graceful you try. They tease, curious and glad of you. It's not dry, in any sense of the word.

    You get used to knowing what you can take and what you must leave. The ecology I suppose. But that sounds like it's something else. Like you aren't part of it. The first time a parrot fish headbutt's you, you soon learn that's not the way they see things.

    Do you know what a pearl is? A pearl is a parasite.
    It's not a grain of sand, an accident, a serendipitous aggravation of beauty.
    A pearl is an attack. The nacre of decisive action. Wild pearls aren't a plan. They are a response. And to understand them, you have to give them time. Years in fact.

    Is this what we most love? The layer upon layer of iridescence cast around one moment that started out so very differently? Is this what we most prize? What is the value of the natural ability to form something so rare and exquisite in such conditions? Should we string it up and wear it around our necks, miraculous by association?

    I have been diving on the same spot since I was six years of age. Again and again, letting the nacre of my heart protect what started out so differently. I know where all the other wild ones are, fully formed, fresh water, pearlescent.
    The ecology of a decisive response.
  • Photo: Taken of me in 2003 in the Similian Islands.

    Sound: Digifish free sounds - attribution licence
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