I’m not into the occult nor into elementals. I cringe at those who dress up like gypsies and dance under the full moon. I just instinctively know that we, humans, are just sharing this world with everyone else and all it needs is for someone to acknowledge the spirit of others in order to communicate. There is no need for any mumbo-jumbo abracadabra, not even trances. Just the acknowledgement of the presence of those around you; of mindfulness that this world is not only for us, human beings.

I exprerience this best underwater, when there are no music blaring from some sound system nor people murmuring or shouting. Just you, your breathing, the blue waters, and whatever it is you connect with.

In this dive, a cowfish.

It was just down there, as frisky and elusive as most other fishes except that I felt an acknowledgement of my presence as well.

Much as I hate to go into the spiritual mumbo-jumbo of the universe, somehow, my silent “hello” was acknowledged. There was a connection.

That inkling of a connection established was reinforced when the cowfish looked my way.

I moved in, feeling as if I was given permission to stalk. Except that the fish swam off to the left. Would that mean an end to our encounter? I wondered.

But wait… the eye contact is still there.

I was even more convinced as it allowed me to come closer. Remember, I am not using some high-powered high tech underwater camera. Just a Canon Ixus, a tiny point and shoot camera with a stock underwater housing. With such a “party camera” a shot this close means the tiny subject is less than a foot away.

This was in 2008 when I still haven’t saved enough for a Canon Powershot G9 (which to me is already very expensive at P30,000; but which is still a point and shoot camera).

Still, the equipment is of no big deal when you find that connection. The cowfish was obviously not threatened by my presence and even peered closer. By this time, the fish was less than six inches away. Honestly, I was already taken aback. Fishes aren’t supposed to come this close while peering directly at the camera and just posing, not attacking. Anemone fishes would approach closer, but only to attack, not even giving you time to get a clear shot. This cowfish, obviously wanted its photo taken.

And then it moved sideways, and so I thought it was already going to leave. If you’re a cowfish as small as around three inches long, you wouldn’t be brave enough as to stalk a black critter that’s more than five feet long with a big shining face where huge bubbles emanate.

Except that apparently, this particular cowfish was braver than all other cowfish I have ever encountered.

It turned right back to face me, just around an inch or two away. I was the one who was startled and flipped over, sending the fish finning away fast.

It’s encounters like this that reinforce my conviction that humans are but one of the multitudes of actors in this earth. Thus the need to stand up for the environment and its protection. Everything is connected, from the smallest germ to the biggest mammal to the universe and beyond. But many of us have lost that ability to connect as we are eaten either by greed or plain unmindfulness of what goes on around us outside the human trappings we have surrounded ourselves with.

Here’s to hoping that more and more will find that connection and savor the universe as it was originally conceived; for all creatures and creations to exist in harmony according to each one’s purpose as designed by the Creator, where symbiosis is a natural function and has nothing to do with sycophants; and where each and everyone exist within a biota that breathes as one.

*M040908*

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5 Comments

  1. What a climax, Stella! I never thought you could go this close and have a shot so awesome any photographer would wish to have! 🙂

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