We would love to share with you one of the entries for our 2013 Thankful for the Ocean contest from John Lidington:



Why am I thankful for the ocean?  Immediately, a slew of standard phrases and buzzwords leap to mind: three-quarters of the earth’s surface, food and oxygen source, carbon sink, biodiversity.  But there’s nothing personal in those words.  The “I” doesn’t really enter into the answer.  Where do ”I” fit into the picture?

I learned to swim at age four, was snorkeling at five.  My father said I had to wait for SCUBA gear until I was twelve (no C-cards back then).  I loved the water, but living first in New England, then up-state New York, I grew up as a summer-time, freshwater diver.

Then, right after college, I dove the wall on Andros Island.  I flew weightless as the coral dropped out from under me into cobalt emptiness.  The closely-bounded world of low visibility I was used to suddenly was infinite.  I was a speck in that blue immensity, but I was part of it.  I was only a speck, but I was free and in control.  I’ve never lost that feeling.  Being underwater anywhere, I can still feel the energy and exhilaration of that moment.

I’ve been blessed to live on the ocean for over thirty years now.  I watch it change with the seasons, with the light, with the weather.  I look out and the scale is vast—it seems like anything could happen—so I imagine and am drawn in.  I watch, and feel the ocean’s rhythm.  Its beat is measured; it’s fundamental.  No matter how great its energy, it doesn’t ever become frenetic—it just gains in power and might.  I know I can draw on it when I need calm, focus, and strength.

So, why am I thankful for the ocean?  Because the ocean is, and always will be, an essential part of me.

John Lidington