I think that in a past life I was a seal, or a dolphin, or an otter. I am completely at home in the water. I love the feel of being enveloped into the cool blue, its surface closing in on my legs as I dive in.
The other reason I have this suspicion are my dreams. Ever since I can remember I have had these dreams, or nightmares, about the water. It’s dark, still surface, and what lies under there. I love nature programmes, I love watching the creatures underwater, their grace and utter ease of movement down there. But the ones set in Antarctica or the Arctic terrify me. Just ten metres away there are leopard seals, pods of orca’s, great white sharks.
In my mind I am a seal, a sitting duck, my heart thundering in my chest as my fate approaches. Even the whales scare me. I think it is purely their vast size, the fact that they put everything around them into shadow, make everything else so insignificant. When I am swimming in the open water sometimes I have to mentally quell my mind. Every time an unidentified shadow passes below me, or the water near by shimmers and I can’t quite see right, I have to remember that it’s all in my head. I hope.
One of my reoccurring dreams still gets me to this day. I am in a huge swimming complex, and I have to get to the other side of the room. The aluminum ceiling is high above, and stretching out in front of me are hundreds of pools, each dark and menacing, holding a different beast. Each time I get through one pool I am thrown into the next one, and again I am swimming for my life in the writhing water. I like to blame Ace Ventura for this dream; I think my overactive imagination grasped onto his shark fight scene a little too hard when I was little watching that movie for the first time.
But sometimes I wonder, when I’m underwater and my legs are propelling my body strongly through the water, maybe this was me, the last time around.