School of Fish, a wallet design for Poketo

on tv a few months ago, someone referred to the beach as "nature." i never thought of it that way. i grew up in florida and i took the ocean for granted. when i spent too much time indoors, my mom always told me to go there. the idea of it was awful. it took me years to realize that i never wanted to go the beach but, whenever i did go, i loved it.

i played a lot of favorite games there. surf over waves, swim under waves, stand against the waves like a superman. i enjoyed floating. i felt disembodied and beautiful. "if this is what death feels like," i sometimes thought, "i wouldn't mind it too much." on the shore, i dug holes until they filled up with water. i called them jacuzzis. condos, sidewalks, and a busy causeway were only a dozen yards away. my favorite beach was more like a backyard than a camping trip.

i do remember seagulls hunting over my head though. i remember a swimming race interrupted by jelly fish. i remember racing so fast that a school of fish adopted me as its leader. i remember an occasional shark scaring everyone out of the water.

i guess i'd forgotten that nature is in the backyard. on the kitchen counter when the ants get in. with the pigeons on the light posts over the highway. when you are so close to something that you can't see it for what it is, it's amazing when you finally notice it.

© 2005 rama hughes