Dreaming Deep


Sleeping seals

Alaskan dreamers

I had a bug-face.  I was floating near the bottom of a swimming pool, playing Frisbee–badly–with other bug-faced beings.

Though my dreams had led me here, I wasn’t dreaming.  I was testing the waters to see if we had the right stuff for scuba diving.  I’d never dreamed that scuba was so physically challenging.  Not the swimming part, we hardly swam.  The strain came from coaxing a terrestrial body, long set in its ways, to accept a new order.  My lungs whined even before I took them down, and at just a few feet of depth, my head threatened implosion.

Getting the ear canals to equalize to increased pressure sounded simple–take it slow, plug your nose, and blow gently against the plug.  Never hold your breath.  To control my speed of descent, I gripped a rope hanging from a buoy.   The rope seemed to try to yank me upward, and it took heavy concentration by my addled brain to realize that the rope wasn’t moving; I was sinking with each exhalation.  Absorbing the rules for this alien environment, was a complete disorientation.  I held my breath.  I blew ungently at my plugged nose.  I tried again.  I hit bottom and played Frisbee.  I didn’t really want to, but the instructors seemed so anxious to show us a good time.  After awhile I realized that it was a diversion technique, and after a while longer my body would not be diverted.  On surfacing I realized that I was queasy.  I don’t know what its problem was, but my stomach pouted for hours.

Still, I was a seal compared to Steve.  He’d spent hours trying to get his ears equalized and never made it near the bottom.  The instructor assured him that his Eustachian tubes would get the hang of it if he kept at it.  Her earlier descriptions of spectacular coral reefs three-stories high called out that all this was worth it, but I don’t dream well when nauseous.  I’m afraid we’ll have to settle for shallower ways to see the sea.


About breathtakebyways

Ann Williams’ travel articles have appeared in publications all over the country including The Washington Post, Roads to Adventure, and Jack and Jill. Between researching and writing books, she specializes in creative lectures.

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