Layered sky above, swaying life below. With the surge from each passing wave, all things not fixed move first to and then fro.
Feet up, head down, two kicks and I begin my flight to the bottom in a state of totally alert relaxation.
I glide through the columns of kelp, over rippling sea grass in a crevice, I descend. Around me a menagerie of colorful life forms, fish cleverly camouflaged seem to appear magically. I pass through a silvery wall of small fish as they part around me.
To the task at hand - a quest - light on I peer in cracks and holes, illuminating the mysteries they conceal. In the back of one cave an Abalone clings to the ceiling, a large one worth measuring. As it senses my presence it clamps down on its rock perch.
I slide the ten inch gauge around it, feeling the surge of water from a wave above press me into the hole as I measure the shell - just shy of the mark. Nine and seven/eighths of an inch spell reprieve for this Abalone. I'll leave him for another year.
Forty-five seconds have passed and my body reminds me I'm terrestrial; it is time to return for air. As I fly upwards I look at that layered sky above, under the undulating reflective surface of the sea, pressures change, efforts cease as I cross the buoyancy barrier and float to the surface.
As I draw my first breath, I can feel the surge of oxygen infusing every cell in my body. Resting there, I'm in a meditative state, eyes watching the world below, my soul being rejuvenated. I am where I should be, where I need to be. By Roger Rude.
Here is a photo of Roger on a day that he did find a ten inch Abalone - this one measured 10.05 inches, a trophy Abalone.
Thanks to Ken Bailey for the underwater photo - to see much more of Ken's wonderful underwater photography, here is his website: http://www.seadreams.org/
Thanks to Jack Likins for the photo of Roger. And a big thank you to Roger for the photo of the early morning ocean and for this beautiful essay.