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four days after my mother died i went 1)scuba diving for the first time. indirectly, it was her death that led me to take up diving in the first place. going underwater seemed like a way to displace the emotional 2)turbulence of my grief. it quickly became an obsession. in that alternative, liquid world i found freedom and 3)tranquillity, mixed with excitement and the stimulation of discovery. that obsession became the focus of my life: i moved countries and jobs so that i could dive regularly in warm tropical water. i took my wife and three-month-old daughter to a small island where surface life posed many challenges: practical, financial, emotional and spiritual. going underwater kept us 4)sane, and all other problems were subordinated to the short but frequent doses of 5)euphoria delivered by the ocean.[论文网] 
   almost 15 years after my mother’s death, i was the sole passenger on a seaplane over the indian ocean when my father died. we landed in a 6)lagoon where a 7)rubber 8)dinghy collected me and ferried me to a larger boat where i was to spend a week cruising the outer 9)atolls of the 10)maldives, diving four times a day.
   mobile phones did not reach to that part of the islands at the time, but the cruiser was equipped with a satellite phone. as i carried my luggage to my cabin, i was summoned to the bridge. on an echoing, static line my wife broke the news. before i could ask for any details, the connection was broken and i was unable to speak to anyone in the outside world for another five days.
   the shock was immense. but i was surrounded by people—ship’s officers, diving staff and a handful of other passengers—none of whom i had met before. there was no point in trying to return home, and i had no means of reaching any members of my family. i decided that there was no one aboard the boat in whom i could confide. it seemed rude to impose my grief on strangers who would inevitably feel awkward at the situation. my loss was a painful, private wound that could not be exposed.
  two hours later i was in my diving kit, sitting on the side of the boat ready to plunge. the dive leader explained that we were heading to a 11)reef 12)promontory that was swept by a strong current. we were to follow him, swimming as quickly as possible to the deepest part of the reef, about 36 metres down. the speed of descent was meant to keep the current from forcing us apart. i was last into the water, and i followed a stream of silver bubbles into the misty grey-blue depths. halfway down i could already see the other divers clutching on to the reef to steady themselves. surrounding them were dozens of grey reef sharks, the object of the dive. keen as i was to join them, i paused, sensing a presence behind me. 13)swivelling in the water and looking back towards the pale surface of the sea, i stared into the eyes of an ocean gian

t: a sailfish.

 i abandoned my descent and finned towards the lurking presence. for a few moments the giant fish hung there, suspended like a 14)mounted trophy. it was the kind of encounter that is so immediate and thrilling that time and action seem compressed. for no more than five or six seconds we watched one another, then the sailfish shimmered, sideways, downwards, blending again into the darker water beyond my vision. none of the other divers saw my encounter, though the dive leader did, and we talked about it privately that night. i wanted his affirmation that i and the sailfish had really just been metres apart. i did not, could not, tell him about my father.
   i have had hundreds of special underwater experiences, but i have never again seen a sailfish underwater. i know from other dive masters that such encounters are rare. i cannot shake the idea that, for many people on earth, this would have been a clear example of shape-shifting: my father’s only opportunity to say goodbye. my father was not a 15)spiritual man. indeed, he revelled in denying the existence of god—partly, i think, in order to 16)infuriate my mother who, frankly, believed in everything.
   and yet, how strange, in the hours and days following the loss of both of my parents, that i was able to be underwater, the place where i am happiest. i felt blessed by that. my mother had died without ever seeing me discover this pleasure. when i was a young adult, she worried constantly that i was unhappy. i hope she would have been pleased that i had discovered something that gripped me with such deep joy. dad lived long enough to witness some of my underwater life. and yet his habit was to deny spirituality, to deny faith, to deny any sentimentality. but if 17)reincarnation, perhaps momentary, as a sailfish was his route to wishing me farewell, i hope it came with a sense of acceptance: that all shall be well. i take my dead parents with me still, every time i dive.
   my senses were ill-suited to understanding the dark depths. i cannot say what passed between us, but as he circled me at a steady distance he inspected me closely, unhurried and calm with an eye that signalled intelligence. i have never forgotten the intensity of that gaze, and my own joy and awe.


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  •  更新时间:2013-11-30 21:43:29  作者:uedbet体育 [标签: ]
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