Dreamed 6/14/1996 by Chris Wayan
I'm a woman living on the Japanese coast. I dive for shellfish and pearls, pick kelp and raid tidepools. My husband and kids all dive too--we make a bare living at it. We don't even own a boat--just old fishing floats.
One day someone kidnaps my whole family! Takes us far out to sea, and dumps us all on an unsettled atoll. I suspect our kidnappers expect us to die here--most people would, I suppose. But we'll survive. Nothing BUT fishing here, and no competition.
Still, I fear the deeps. The water's too clear, you can see so far down, and it drops off so fast into the blue abyss. And the giant clams--we had nothing like them. I fear they'll close on our legs and drown us. And the sea lions, bigger than any near the coast--I keep fearing they'll attack us. And the coral, so sharp, and stinging fish... none of that back home.
Or am I just the family worrier?
Suddenly I let my fears go. The clams aren't out to get me, the sea lions are playful when they meet us, the coral has edges but can be handled with care. Some of the stinging things are medicinal. The world has its difficulties but it isn't hostile. We're still poor, but we always were. This place is ours now, and no one else's, so how can we really be poor?
And it's so beautiful here! We were kidnapped, marooned, but...
I don't want to go back.
NOTE IN THE MORNING
Dive for shellfish = seek the freedom to be what my family labeled 'selfish'! One should be social, active politically, helping others, busy in this world. When I'm a natural solitary, fishing things up from the dream-depths--places no one else goes. I like being a dreamer--it's what I am. Shellfish or not.
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