essays by shé

House of the Ray

I saw the face of god and it’s a ray.

Investigating a new snorkel spot, movement flashes in the corner of my eye. Turning to my right, I’m startled by a ray and sea turtle close by. Large, both of them. I freeze.

The ray glides in front of me, swoops around and down and rests right below me on the ocean floor. Her body is black and white, chunky; her wings short; her tail long and thin and barbed. This is her element. Does she allow visitors? Yes. She stays below me a long time, and I relax a bit.

Eventually she sails away into the gloom. I turn to the turtle who’s still cruising nearby. “Wow,” I say. My breathing slows.

Last year, at Secrets, I was swimming along, enjoying the view of multi-colored and -shaped fish when a squid jetted beneath and ahead of me, black and quick and multi-legged. I stopped. She stopped, and became the color of the rock. If I hadn’t watched her change, I wouldn’t have seen her. Eyes blinked at me. And then we played the camouflage game. I’d swim, she’d jet, then she’d mimimic reef or rock. Yes, you can laugh in a snorkel.

I’m brought back to the present stretch of sea by a small speeding turtle zipping past me. I’ve never seen one move so quickly. A frisson of fear sweeps through. What are turtles afraid of? Sharks. Now would be a good time to swim in.

And here’s the ray again. The grace, the soaring, the pure D beauty is astonishing. She swings by me, not stopping, and I say thank you.

Happy Epiphany.

"Passin' Through" by Shé,  11" x 14" acrylic on canvas, 2021
Passin’ Through by Shé, 11″ x 14″ acrylic on canvas, 2021





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