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Aspen looks down at the crystal-clear water caressing her ankles. She is mesmerized by the image of her feet, as it constantly distorts under the influence of hundreds of tiny ripples competing with each other. It’s a tug of war game: who will cause the most visual distortion, who will make Aspen’s feet look like they are shrinking and swelling, splitting, and melting. The sea wants to play. Any object, any light ray that enters her, needs to be prepared to play by her rules.
Occasionally, tiny but powerful sparkles explode on the surface, like strings of supernovas or Christmas lights set on random flashing mode. One sun, turned into thousands of sparkles. As the water gets deeper, Aspen can still see every detail at the bottom. Every little pebble, every tiny twig or broken seashell, occasionally a fish or a crab as they take their time foraging curiously through the underwater garden. They never seem to be in a hurry, more like in “just browsing” mode, much like an old lady in a farmers’ market. They first have a general browse of the area, much like the lady first carefully browses the entire farmers market to check the prices. They might then begin sift through the sand like it’s a bargain bin, or try something for taste and then spit it back out, much like the lady will occasionally pick up a lettuce or piece of fruit, then quickly put it back. It wasn’t what they thought it was. They’ll find something better down the road.
And then she dives in. Now she’s flowing amongst the fish, the kelp, looking up through a cloud of up-and-coming bubbles, and into an emerald sky up above. The green-blue hue becomes more and more brilliant, as the sun gets stronger, and the underwater reef wakes up. Tropical fish and other sea life begin to join her on her stroll along the shallow reef. It’s a busy morning, and everyone’s out and about. Soft corals wave back and forth as they sway in the gentle current, like attendants trying to direct the busy traffic above.
Suddenly a cloud draws in. It gets dark. It gets really dark. The emerald-green hue turns into a grey-blue, then black. She wakes up. She hears a loud flapping sound. It is the wet curtain, flogging itself uncontrollably in the wind. The window is wide open.
It is hurricane season.
George is an author, researcher, podcast host, chemist, molecular biologist and food scientist. You can follow him on Twitter @99blackbaloons , listen to his Spotify podcast George reads George, sign up for blog alerts below, or enjoy his books