Photo Essay

Ocean child

Water angel

She daydreams a lot. "Eau" (pronounced O, the French for water) was the first word she uttered. She could swim months before she could walk.

The dry world, as she calls it, offers little interest. She likes to spend her time reading about waves and whales and bottomless oceans. She draws in silence, not horses nor charming princes but coral reefs and mermaids. Get her in the water, any kind of water, and she comes alive. She dives and rolls and swims for hours with no sign of getting tired. She sits on the shore in silence. She is happy then. Water to her is like fresh air to us. She needs it.

When she was five years old, she came to me one day and asked:

- "Daddy, how old were you when you decided what you were going to do when you grew up?"

- "I dunno, maybe fifteen or sixteen, when I got my first camera I guess."

- "Gee. That's old." she said.

Long pause.

- "Daddy, I already decided what I want to do when I grow up."

- "Really? What is it?"

- "I'm going to play in the water with my friends."

- "That's a nice idea. But your friends will probably want to be doctors or presidents or something like that. They might not have a lot of time to play in the water with you."

She looked at me with a funny expression, like I was some kind of nut case.

- "Daddy" she said, "you know very well dolphins have no interest in becoming doctors or presidents!"

She was born on March 3rd. A Pisces, of course.

This year, I took her scuba diving for the first time (she's now 12). For the first time in her life, she was able to live and breathe and play in the water with her friends. For the first time in her life, she was in her own universe, not ours. There are no words to describe how profoundly moved she was. She cried in her mask. She cried on the boat going back. She cried on the plane going home. And now she's saving all her money to buy a tank and a regulator.

Oh yes, and an underwater camera.

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thought you might like this story!

http://jpgmag.com/stories/13420

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—The JPG team

18 responses

  • Chante Tenoso

    Chante Tenoso gave props (3 Oct 2009):

    I really like this story. Well done!

  • Nicole Ocampo

    Nicole Ocampo (Deleted) gave props (3 Oct 2009):

    i thought i was going to cry myself at the end of your story! def voted

  • Liberty Kifer

    Liberty Kifer gave props (3 Oct 2009):

    lovely, loving, and i love it. gets my vote.

  • Renee Rocole

    Renee Rocole gave props (7 Oct 2009):

    Incredible and touching....gets my vote!!!!!!

  • Aelica

    Aelica (Deleted) said (7 Oct 2009):

    What you wrote is wonderful, a moving story! And your shots perfectly caught your daughter's feelings for water. I kinda have the same feelings for water...but it took me 28 years to understand that the dress that fits me the best is water. I've been swimming only for two years but can't image to stop now. It is like fresh air, it's like being in my element finally...and that's what I see in these shots! Well done!

  • Catherine Kurvink

    Catherine Kurvink gave props (8 Oct 2009):

    A beautiful, charming story about a magical child. I voted yes!

  • Mike Melnotte

    Mike Melnotte gave props (8 Oct 2009):

    A treasure of a story. Loved it.

  • Meghan O'Connell

    Meghan O'Connell said (8 Oct 2009):

    Magical, inspiring, dreamy.

  • Sally Sloley

    Sally Sloley said (8 Oct 2009):

    brilliant. i can't even describe how much i love this. great story and wonderful photos.

  • Mike Olbinski

    Mike Olbinski gave props (9 Oct 2009):

    Beautiful story, as a new father of a little girl, this kind of stuff always moves me. Thank you.

  • Tom Mertens

    Tom Mertens gave props (10 Oct 2009):

    Thank you for sharing... your photos and your relationships.

  • Bruce Miller

    Bruce Miller (Deleted) said (10 Oct 2009):

    Great story, well told. I'm glad she takes the camera underwater.

  • David Johnson

    David Johnson gave props (11 Oct 2009):

    And I cried just a little as I got to the end of the essay. A beauty.

  • Anaelle Trojak

    Anaelle Trojak (Deleted) gave props (11 Dec 2009):

    L'amour de la mer, plaisir simple mais tellement indescriptible. Pour cela j'adore votre histoire. Elle me rappelle mes premières découvertes de l'immensité houleuse. Comment expliquer cet amour, ce besoin de mer... J'aime son odeur, ses vagues, sa profondeur. Où commence-t-elle? où va-t-elle, cette grande bleue qui sépare les peuples et qui pourtant les rapproche? Moi je voudrais danser, mourir avec elle. La mer, on l'admire ou on la craint, mais une chose est sûre, c'est qu'une fois qu'on y goûte, elle ne vous lâche plus.

  • Laurie Brown

    Laurie Brown gave props (19 Dec 2009):

    We don't often see such passion in others, let alone one so young. I know two little girls who are kindred spririts to your daughter though. I'll be showing them your story.

  • Liberty Kifer

    Liberty Kifer said (15 Jul 2010):

    i read this a long time ago, then saw one of the pics by chance and found it again. brought tears to my eyes both times. she sounds like such a magical child....i can't wait to see what my little girls fall in love with.

  • christine kiebert-boss

    christine kiebert-boss said (21 Jul 2010):

    wonderful story - well told. Thanks

  • MindTheStep

    MindTheStep gave props (30 Nov 2011):

    Amazing!! my vote.

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