Diaries Magazine

Pearl Hunting

By Owlandtwine
Pearl HuntingPearl HuntingPearl HuntingPearl HuntingPearl HuntingPearl HuntingPearl HuntingPearl Hunting
I am a girl made of warm white sand and shells.  At a very young age, I understood that the moon and tide held power over my life.  Intuition was gazing at the soft down of a pelican's underbelly as it flew high above into the sunlight.  Smelly things, like dead fish, were bad bad bad.  I once watched my brother run down the shore, where the water comes in and pulls back out, and step right on a dead puffer fish.  I wonder if he remembers that?  That was bad.  My childhood best friend and I would hop off of the side of her dock, nestled in the lower crescent of Boca Ciega Bay and walk over and around seaweed covered rocks when the tide was out, all around the bay, searching for pearls.  We'd return hot and sweaty and go for a swim, her mom sitting in the sunlight atop salt crusted wood, weaving baskets, watching us out of the corner of her eye.  That was weekend stuff.  And it is a childhood fact of mine that I was a pearl hunter and feared purple sea slug blood.  
As I grew older, the rivers of Florida and Georgia became my world.  Canoeing in red, brown water, tinted by cypress tree's roots, I was deathly afraid of the alligator, madly in love with the owl.  I got to know many of Florida's rivers, but it was the Swanee that changed me.   I have canoed the entire river from start in Georgia to the open mouth of the Gulf in lower-mid Florida.  My hair and soul becoming a mirror image of moss, gently moving back and forth: this way, this way, toward the sea.  Home.
Yesterday I took my family ice skating on Evergreen Lake.  For some reason, perhaps the extreme beauty of the natural world in that moment, my childhood came rushing back.  The light was gold, and nothing like the gold of a setting sun over sea, but equally as beautiful and powerful.  When we finished skating, we walked up into the hills to explore.  The boys ran, jumping into big pits of snow.  They quickly learned to run with eyes down, dodging big clumps of elk poo.  They were brimming with happiness.  I saw a look in their eyes that I recognized from long ago.  I want them to believe in the sun's light grazing silver granite.  If it's the evergreen's color that paints their souls and the hawk's premeditated flight that guides them home, then so be it.  As long as we keep doing this, I thought, they will learn everything.
It was my idea to get outside and do something yesterday.  I was fought by three sets of mouths, pleading to stay home - and to do what?  I asked.  By early afternoon and the promise of an adventure, we were on our way.  Homeward bound, there was a new vibe, charged with a feeling not unlike how I remember feeling after a morning of pearl hunting, or slowly moving along the center of a river, it's pulse licking the sides of the boat.  This morning Theo hopped into bed with me and asked me if we could go to the lake today.  As long as we keep doing this, I think, they will learn everything.

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