Yesterday, I did something that I’ve never done because I believed there was nothing to fear. So it was not a surprise that I saw something that I’ve never seen. I’m pretty sure, almost positive actually, that I saw a small shark in the ocean yesterday. Yesterday morning, I woke to the most beautiful sunrise that I’ve seen in months. I was going to go for an early morning walk/run before work. I decided to go for a swim instead. I’ve never gone for a swim at dawn.
It was a stunningly beautiful morning. On my way to the beach, I snapped the picture below:
Nothing to Fear But a Shark
The water was calm, completely still. When I reached the rocks, I hesitated before entering the water. I have swum in that area dozens of times before but I hesitated because of fear. I grew up around here. Lots of people swim here all the time, but I’ve never swum at dawn and I read or heard somewhere that sunrise is the time when sharks tend to feed. I don’t know if it’s true or not. Maybe someone who knows more can comment below.
So, I stood on the rocks and looked out at the ocean, looking for any signs of danger. And I saw it. Actually, I heard it before I saw it. The water was so calm and it was so quiet that it sounded like someone splashing loudly. I saw a small fin and about a foot, maybe two feet behind that fin, another fin, a tail-like fin, both piercing the calm surface of the water. It was cruising along, beyond the point where I normally swim, presumably going after some fish. I was so stunned that I forgot that I had my camera! By the time that I finally realized that I needed to take a picture or even a video, the shark had kinda disappeared and I got this pathetic shot. You can kind of still see the fin.
My guess is that it was a Galapagos or a dusty shark and the distance from the pectoral fin to the tail fin couldn’t have been more than a couple of feet so… that would make the whole thing about 4-5 feet tops right? I really don’t know. But, I know what I saw.
Fear is an Idea
So, here’s the thing:
I was about 5 or so when the iconic Jaws movie came out. Then I grew up with Jaws, Jaws 2, Jaws 3, Jaws the Revenge, Sharknado, Shark Week and all the other shark-related shows. I am well aware that we live on an island in the middle of the ocean and that there are sharks out there. Additionally, scientists have studied shark behavior and I’ve learned that the small sharks are harmless. Even if I encountered one in its habitat, there would be nothing to fear. I know that there has not been a shark attack in Bermuda in my lifetime, and I’m no longer considered young! I know that. Yet, I am fearful.
I am fearful of the idea of a shark. That somehow this little reef shark could react like the shark that stalked the people in the movies. (Particularly haunting to me is the one that trapped Blake Lively on the rock as the tide came up and ate all her would-be rescuers or companions. I would advise against watching that movie.)
So, that is an irrational fear.
I have too many of them. Mostly not about sharks but people and everyday life.
What would that person think? What if? Why write a blog? What if it sucks and no one reads it? Or worse, what if it sucks and lots of people read it?
I’m learning, slowly, what is on the other side of fear.
Nothing. Nothing to fear but fear itself…
I still went for my morning swim. It was delightful.