And here I was – out of my umwelt, first time ever properly and consciously feeling that I am not from this particular world. An alien. Out of space creature. A voyeur looking at private lives of other things – admiring their beauty and magic. The reality around me wasn’t “real” – I couldn’t relate to it with my senses in such a way how I could on the “dry land”, in the city. It felt as if I was wearing an Oculus headset rather than being immersed in the ocean, under the water, on this planet but very much other-worldly. The fish and animals around me didn’t really pay any attention to my presence. Maybe apart from a couple of fish who came closer, thinking that I was a nice chunk of food. They turned around disappointed however – humans after all were not considered as delicacy. It all has been like a film or a dream – surreal, detached, and I was both: part of it and the outsider.
Two big mantas fly-swam in front of me, tiny electric blue plankton creatures sparkled from time to time, a gigantic population of a baby fish – so tiny that if I didn’t have an oxygen mask on me I would probably have inhaled them – have surrounded me; some camouflage fish on the sea bed trying to bury itself in a sand; some other red one lurking from inside the coral reef cave; parrot fish nibbling around; and so many many others animals! The abundance of life, goodness, beauty, colors, sensations around the delicate yet very tough architecture of atolls was overwhelming.
The mask I was wearing made it very easy to look at everything – just like looking through the glass of the aquarium; the oxygen apparatus allowed me to breathe and exist in this, otherwise hostile to mammals, alien world; the rubber fin shoes on my feet made it easier to swim under the water; the sound – crackling, quiet, but always present together with the sound of my inhales and exhales from and to the mask made me realised how strange thing I was in this environment. It felt like it was an awkward attempt to become one of these beautiful creatures – to blend in and be part of their habitat. I was a clumsy weirdo, an intruder, an ugly beast from the surface who suddenly have been given an opportunity to see the glimpse of organs and processes keeping this planet alive. The outer layer of the organism which we are all part of, was peeled a little bit, so I could marvell on the intricacy, complexity and mechanisms of all things which have made me and let me stay alive.
I was immersed right inside the livelihood of our planet. Why did I feel so alien?
Few days later I found myself back in the city, on the surface, on the Earth skin made out of its crust, present in my habitat, but trying to delay the comeback to my reality.
Although with my body I was back to my umwelt my mind was still lingering in where I was few days ago, in attempt to preserve all memories, sensations and feelings. Perhaps that was because I discovered how scary but at the same time wonderful would be to be one of these creatures more vital to keep this planet alive than me…Or perhaps it felt right to be there with them – creating together a system – a sort of bio-community – to thrive and be happy.
I need just few more minutes…I will call you back later….I will check my emails later….but for now I am still swimming and playing with other creatures who do not have got facebook profiles or mobile phones….with whom I won’t be able to keep in touch. I can only connect back with them through my memories….what a wonderful feeling, what a sad feeling – I probably will never see them again…So please – you wait, wait for a few minutes longer….