Yesterday I went out bodyboarding late in the afternoon. The sky was overcast and cloudy, and a light wind was ruffling the water. There was a nice gravity swell running under the surface chop, and the faces were cleaning up as the swell heaved up onto the reef and spilled towards the shoreline. The water was a darkling grey, reflecting the clouds overhead.
I dropped into a nice set wave, bottom-turning off the shoulder and pulling up onto the face as the wall across the bowl set-up ahead of me. I trimmed level to scoot across the bowl. Just a hand-span to the right of my face the lip of the wave started to vibrate and dance as it does when a wave is about to form a plunging lip.
At that instant the sun broke out low in the west in the ridge line gap between Mount Olum and Mount Ohma. The light hit the dancing drops of water on the lip edge and lit up the beaded lip like a string of diamonds on a long necklace. The sun hit the water and turned it aquamarine, the bottom suddenly bloomed into full color with yellow corals, neon purplefish, and easter egg blue sandy patches. A moment of absolute and sheer beauty. I was awestruck.
For a moment time paused and then the vision collapsed in an instant as the bowl snapped shut and tossed me into the white water rumble. I was, however, oblivious to being tumbled across the reef, my mind still holding on to that one glorious moment of absolute pure beauty.
I am not the most religious of fellows, but being on Kosrae I automatically said my kulo ke God el moul, because there are moments and places of beauty that bring on a sense of the spiritual.
As I was rolled and tossed along the reef, the image of that instant left me feeling certain everything would be all right.
In the evening, after washing up, I joined my father-in-law for a visit to Kenye Insetlang Lambert Talley. She is the antecedent for Shanalin's middle name, Kenye Insetlang. I have known Kenye for years. Last spring she lost feeling in her legs following a fall. Although there is nothing organically wrong, the paralysis has gradually spread and she is now bedridden and able to only barely move her arms. She speaks and breathes with difficulty. Doctor's examinations, physical therapy, massages, and local medicine have all failed to find a cause or bring about improvement in her condition.
I took Shanalin with, Kenye Lambert calls her Insetlang Srisrik or Little Insetlang. Although Shanalin was slightly scared by Kenye Lambert laying on her back in the bed, Shanalin took Kenye Lambert's hand and held it. Kenye Lambert cried a little, and thanked Shanalin for coming to see her. Those of there realize this is likely the last time these two will meet.
I wanted to have some way to let Kenye Lambert know that somehow everything would be all right, no matter what happened. I had no words to convey the instant of pure beauty I had experienced, or the sense of the spiritual that existed in that moment in space.
We sang some of Kenye's favorite songs, old hymnals rarely heard in the church these days. I knew the words and tunes not, and simply chimed in on choruses once I had them figured out.
Tomorrow we leave for Pohnpei, carrying with us memories of summer fun and family, and with a sense of imminent loss for those we will probably not see again.