resilience with kindness & purpose


Article by Wendy Campbell

Messages from Mother Earth: The Ocean

by Wendy Campbell
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Message One – The Voyage

“Welcome to this Voyage”. The ocean swells greet us as we motor our yacht out of the harbour entrance. I love the way we always begin our voyages with this rhythm of the water, showing us how we should move with our boat this time, as she journeys across the waves. Sparkling azure blue, the water stretches away to the horizon, beckoning us to raise our sails and travel with the wind. At the helm, holding the wheel firmly as I watch my husband, Rob, standing by the mast, waiting to raise the big sail, I feel the joy rise from my soul as I meet the ocean again.

Many times have we done this now, motoring away from the entrance, turning the wheel to make a steady circle to face into the wind so that Rob can raise the main sail easily and safely. I feel part of the yacht as I hold the wheel steady, watching the sail rise flapping and snapping from its bed. I have to keep our path steady so that we do not face away from the wind. If we have the wind coming from either side, the sail will fill and Rob will not be able to tie it firmly to the mast. So I watch as a hawk for the slightest movement away from the direction of the wind.

Rob waves to say that the main sail is firmly in place. We have already decided where we will go today. I turn the wheel slowly to face the path of today’s voyage, watching that Rob is safe as he makes his way back into the cockpit. Gazing up I watch the sail fill. I revel in the joy that rises from the soul of our Dusky Dolphin as she takes off with the power of the wind, and we turn off the motor. Then I can hear water rushing past as we slice our way though the waves. Rob cranks the winches to pull out the jib, and front sail. It fills with wind immediately, taking us forward with a jump. Taking care to avoid other boats around the harbour entrance, we begin our real voyage with the wind in our sails.

*

I lie on the bow of our yacht, the Dusky Dolphin. She is skimming across the waves as a dolphin, taking me on the journey with her. I listen to the hiss of her path through the water, sparkling droplets flying in her wake. I feel the breeze around me and through my hair, caressing my skin with tenderness. I taste the salt of the spray on my lips, licking them lingeringly.

I AM a dolphin, seeing the sunlight patterns through the deep blue of the sea, feeling the salty brine on my skin, flying through the water to my beloved on wings of grey. I AM………………..

A dark brown shearwater glides effortlessly past me, skimming the wave tops as she flies on their updrafts. She is another who is one with the ocean.

I feel the sails straining to hold the wind as it strengthens. Our yacht absorbs the little shudders, powering along her playful wake and at oneness to be in her home, her haven.

And then I sense her presence, the dolphin I know is there. She has raced to join me in the bow wave, flying, leaping, smiling with the sheer joy of it. She rolls on her side to look up with a deep, deep eye. Connecting with the eye of a dolphin I see her soul – ancient, knowing, totally in the NOW. I feel peace flowing through me, and intense joy. Thank you, dear one.

We skim through the waves again, in shallow water this time, later the same day. The azure light patterns on the sea bottom dazzle me into joining them. Always changing, parting, joining, they are mesmerising. I am a dolphin again, wholly at one with the light.

*

That night I lie in our bunk in our yacht at anchor, rocked gently awake by the waves. We are anchored in a perfect bay, open to the ocean yet protected by reefs. A place of magic, of oneness, of Mother Earth.

As always I feel peaceful at this waking, lazily focussing on the golden of the rising sunshine warming the she-oak panels of our cabin. No wind this morning, so the only sound is the little waves lapping next to me, washing the hull to a salty clean-ness. I stretch like a cat – fully, slowly, and arise to another day with the ocean.

*

“I give you this gift of joy”.

The words whisper in my head as I watch the young dolphin spring from the ocean in pure joy. I have never before seen a dolphin jump from the water in a breach, just as a whale does. Of course, they aren’t dolphins, they are whales! The little one jumps again and again in gay abandon, until her parents insist that they all move along.

We are sitting in our yacht, anchored in one of our favourite bays on this island. The sun sparkles on the water, dancing with the ripples and wavelets of brine.

I have just been drawn away from the beauty of this place by a phone call – my stepfather is dying. Recently diagnosed with painful, incurable cancer and a life span of 3-6 miserable months, he has resigned himself to death and decided that it is time to leave. He was admitted to hospital yesterday with pneumonia. My sister called me to say he was happy and content. He knew that he was going, and all his family were gathering at his bed-side. I am too far away to get there, yet my soul cried with her, with them all. All I can give her is my love.

Suddenly I am pulled back here with this gift of joy, this joyful little dolphin leaping and sparkling in the sunlight. Blinking away my tears I thank Mother Earth and her ocean for so beautifully reminding me of the sacred circle of life which connects us all. I whisper words of love to my stepfather as he peacefully drifts towards the Otherworld.

Now I am back in the joy of the present, just like the little dolphin.

*

A few days later, we are skimming over the waves with the wind in our sails. We have enjoyed lunch and naps in a favourite bay before raising the sails and setting off for home. Rob shouts “Dolphins!” and I scramble onto the bow. Leaning over the front of the boat I gasp in wonder as a whole pod of dolphins play and frolic around our boat. They surf the bow wave, then dive under the boat to emerge at the back and speed around to surf the bow wave again. Sometimes they roll on their sides and look up at me. Sometimes they fly along on their backs, their white under-bellies shining through the water. Every time I look, there are dolphins surfing that wave.

They stay with us for ages. Almost breathless, I am with them in every move.

Suddenly I know that my stepfather has just passed away in peace. And here again are the dolphins to bring joy. To remind me again of the joy of the present.

“Thankyou” is such a small word for the gratitude I feel to the dolphins — to Mother Earth.

*

Message Two – The Shores

I love the ocean and its deep connection with the land. The coast and estuary spaces have always been special to me.

*

“Splash” – my paddle makes a genteel splash as it dips into the water; “swirl” – the salty estuary water swirls past my paddle as I pull it towards me; “sprinkle” – the paddle sprinkles a shower of water over me as I lift it up to dip the opposite paddle in. Rhythmically, we pull our canoe by its paddles along the estuary on the incoming tide from the ocean. The early morning is quiet, the newly risen sun reflecting from the still water. I marvel at the way this body of water joins the ocean and the river together into a wonderful whole.

A bright white heron stands erect at the water’s edge, ready to become a spear piercing the fish he is watching so intently. Unaware of the watcher, the mullet frolic and splash with abandon as they catch their breakfast – insects skittering across the water’s surface.

A tern flies over us, coming in from the ocean to feed on the estuary fish. I love terns – their white, streamlined bodies in sharp contrast to their jet-black heads.

Coming around a bend in the river we pass a flock of pelicans, elegantly preening themselves on the bank. With their huge beaks they find good-sized meals in rivers and on ocean shores, these birds.

A pair of black swans reminds us of the river connected to this estuary. Legs working hard underwater they appear to glide across the surface effortlessly.

We stop paddling and rest. We listen. Mullet splash. A flock of green parrots flies overhead, calling “Twenty eight, twenty eight” to each other.

Paddling on, the estuary narrows so we are closer to the banks. We see a large bird’s nest in the branches of the gum tree on the bank. Is it an osprey’s? We haven’t seen these birds of prey today, but we know that they are around. They feed on the fish here and along the ocean shores, like the pelicans. I remember, on a previous visit here, seeing one dive silently and gracefully down to grab a fish swimming unaware, just beneath the surface.

As we approach the rocky bar across the estuary, dividing it from the river beyond, we come to the end of this journey. A flock of cormorants flies towards us. We stop paddling and are in awe of the clear sounds of their wing feathers pushing their way through the air, just as we have been doing through the water. They fly so close over our heads that I can almost touch them. I have never heard this sound before so clearly, and the gift touches me with joy. I revel what it must be like to fly as a bird. Thank you for sharing this sacred place with us, Mother Earth.

*

“Whoosh”. The steamy exhaled breath of the whale hangs for a moment over its blowhole, then disappears. Another breath whooshes upward, , blending with a breath from the whale beside it.

Gazing down at them from the cliff top, we realise that they are mating. Tears of joy sting my eyes as I feel their joy of being alive — simply being whales. Without any of the embarrassment or shame with which we surround this sacred primal act, the whales trust the ocean to embrace them as they embrace each other. I wonder, not for the first time, what it would be like to simply be a human, without all the fuss and judgement. Then, with a flash of their huge tails, they dive below the waves and I am left with tingles of happiness singing in my veins.

I remember a previous time here, when we took a power boat out onto this ocean. We were surrounded by whales as they gave us the gift of their joyful play. Diving under our boat, standing upright in the water to look us in the eye, rolling over next to us and slapping the water with their huge flippers, lunging out of the ocean and crashing back into it with great splashes. Such displays of simply being whales. They welcomed us to be part of their world, despite all the hardships that humans have inflicted upon them over the centuries.

How can I express my thanks to them all, to Mother Earth, for this precious gift so freely given? Deep within I know the answer — by being the “me” who I was born to be.

Thank you Mother Earth for all the gifts of your oceans.