My life pretty much revolves around animals. I wake up to a cat kneading my head and venture out at a dawn to take the dogs for their daily morning walk before heading out to listen in on the world’s pets. Finally, at the end of the day, I come home to take the dogs for a swim, let the bunny run in the yard, and brush the cats lazing about, among other things.
But animals aren’t my only passion. When I was a child my grandfather built a small sailboat. Sailing with the wind and through the waves was my only true passion outside of being at the stables. So now when I want to get away from who I am or what I do, I head to the ocean.
In 2002 I met Shawn, my ex-husband. He gave me my first surfboard and surfing lessons in exchange for training his dog. Shawn taught me many lessons in life, but surfing was by far the most fun and the most healing. During one dawn surf session I caught a beautiful long rolling wave at the Ventura Point. I stood up, dropped in, and to my surprise there were three dolphins, two on my right and one on my left, surfing the same wave. I took a deep breath in awe and looked up to see a full rainbow over the Ventura Pier. It was the closest I have come to heaven on earth.
Over the years, dolphins have caught waves beside me and have swum under and around my board. I have never feared them. I have only a sense of gratitude for their presence.
A few weeks ago, a pod of dolphins was swimming around the surfers and I thought I would challenge myself to make friends with them. People swim with the dolphins all over the world. Why shouldn’t we, in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties? I started to send them telepathic messages telling them how much joy they bring people. How the sight of a dolphin makes people feel blessed whether they are swimming in the water or walking on shore. I told them how people around the world swim with the dolphins and how people have trinkets of them in their homes. This pod of four dolphins stayed around us the whole time we were surfing. When our backs were turned, one dolphin would sneak up to us. We would turn around to find the dolphin slowly swimming off. The dolphins asked me about dogs and what they were all about. They asked me about cars and umbrellas. I told them I would call them the next time I came to the ocean. That night I dreamt of hundreds of them in the darkness of the night, floating sleepily amongst the seaweeds.
The next week I called them. They came but I had already gotten out of the water due to the coldness. From the shore, I explained to them about body temperature and why people wear wetsuits. They thanked me for the knowledge and told me to come again. A few days later, I was dog training at a different beach and I swear the same pod came to see me. They played close to the beach; jumping out of the water twisting and wiggling. People stood in awe. “I have never seen dolphins so close to shore!” They exclaimed. I had feelings of grandiosity that somehow they sensed my presence; that somehow an invisible string of energy connects us and they had come to this beach miles from where I first saw them to ask me questions and show that they, too, want to be friends.
That night when I closed my eyes I heard them echoing their songs and felt the ocean water rushing by my body as if I was one of them. I reminded myself that I am my greatest skeptic, but I am also my biggest believer. These past few weeks I have learned that I can no longer leave a part of me behind when I enter the ocean; I have begun to bring who I am and my work into the waters with me. Whether I fully believe it or not, I am making friends with the dolphins.