I recently watched this documentary titled "Fish People". You can find it On Demand. My kids were off from school, it was one of those much needed pouring rainy days, and my little one and I were lying in bed. Bliss. He wanted to watch a movie, and I was cranky about it since lately I find tv so noisy and invasive. In an ear shattering way. I didn't think we'd find something to agree on, and I didn't want to watch ten annoying Lego movie trailers before vetoing the whole attempt. I should have given my son more credit. He's an extremely bright seven year old who loves nature documentaries. We happened upon Fish People. It was 49 minutes, so a minor time commitment.
It intrigued us both. It's about six or so different people across the globe, each who in their own way have devoted their lives to the ocean. There were surfers and divers from Hawaii, a pro ocean swimmer from California, an ocean photographer from Australia, to name a few. It was riveting. Listening to these people describe in detail about their lifelong love with the sea, one of the most powerful forces of nature, was deeply impactful. In a crying, thought provoking, I hate my life kind of way. You should know (though it's major TMI) that I had my period, and I made the mistake of listening to "Walking in Memphis" a couple hours prior. This song and my menstrual cycle are not compatible. Every time I hear it when "my friend visits" I can't stop crying. The film was beautiful. To watch how people could be so one with the elements. How they use nature to excite themselves, to soothe their pain, to use the ocean as a therapist, a best friend, a lover. The water as a means of giving to others.
One pro surfer in San Francisco dedicates his life to teaching inner city kids how to surf, as a means of healing and escape. His name is Eddie. I happen to love that name, and he was so handsome. I swear I wanted to fly to California, hunt him down, and marry him. Eddie, would you consider converting to Judaism? What a good person he is. I was so drawn in by the symbolic tide of observing how humans partner with God's earth to sustain each other. It's exactly how it's meant to be. I felt so sad. Living in an urban environment that's so centered on material things, coupled with restrictions in organized religion, makes me feel so removed from how life is supposed to be. It made me question how we raise our kids in such a materialistic atmosphere. That has always driven me crazy, but the drawer in which I put those concerns had been pulled open. I don't want to take my kids to the mall, I want to take them to the beach or on a hike. It pains me watching them play video games, when I'd be so much happier seeing them delight in nature. I know they'd be happier that way too! Yes, I try. And my children do love nature. But it doesn't govern our lives, and it should. I felt both inspired and gutted.
I called a friend crying about this. I said, "we are all making a mistake. We are wasting our lives, living so removed. The value system is off." She didn't disagree, and she and I have discussed this before. Anyone who knows me knows I often think and feel this way. The depth of appreciation these Fish People have for the deep, mysterious, vastness of the ocean was fascinating. They are not afraid. They embrace whatever lies beneath. They adjust to the tides, to the rhythm of the water. They may get held under but they always come back up for air. They trust themselves, and they trust the ocean. If this isn't a metaphor for life, I don't know what is. By not being afraid, they are free to explore. Diving into the sea makes them see inside themselves. The water is their home, not the enemy. The pro ocean swimmer swam in the 80's from Alaska to Russia, thereby improving political relations at that time. Her thinking was, if I can swim from one country to the next, we are not as far apart as we all think we are... Literal deep thoughts. This movie pierced my core, which is what good movies are meant to do. It gave me more ideas about how I can apply my passions to helping kids. It was a reminder that in order for me to feel happy I must constantly make nature a regular part of my life. I don't want to feel sad about this, rather I'll do something about it so that I'll feel happy. What bigger gift has God given us than all the wonders of nature? How dare we not receive those gifts graciously. Telling myself I could write about this immediately calmed me down a bit.
So thank you for reading this. Writing, like immersing in water, is healing and self soothing. I'm so grateful I can do it. It has always been there for me. Words are my waves. They move me, comfort me, excite me. Words are so precious. They are one of the chief ways we communicate. The ocean has its own language, one that is wordless. All languages are sacred. All are important. This film gave me a dose of mindfulness. I thanked my son for insisting we watch something. I highly recommend seeing this documentary. Please let me know if it moves you. There is no end to how much nature has to teach us. We only have to want to learn. 🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊