Humbled and Touched.

Today was my second day in Lanzarote on our annual family vacation. Several years ago while in Greece I took to snorkeling and spent as much time as I could in the sea. I visited a local shop here and just had to get myself a new mask and snorkel. Suitably equipped, I ventured out into the secluded spot between these sea walls.

The water is very calm here and is teaming with fish. We have started taking bread to the beach for the kids to feed them, much to their delight. Mask adjusted, straps tightened, and with the snorkel in mouth, I entered the sea. Eventually, I explored ever deeper and saw bigger and more exotic fish. My son was keen to try my mask and I am currently trying to teach him how to snorkel after buying him his own set. He’s not quite convinced he can float yet.

While walking back down the beach today for another snorkeling session, I caught sight of an elderly couple. The lady was pushing her husband in a wheelchair down the path to the edge of the beach. Once there, she produced a zimmer frame and helped the old fella stand up. Next, she fitted a lifejacket around his chest and slowly they ambled onto the sand and down the beach towards the shore.

As I neared them I asked if I could help. The gentleman was very wobbly on his legs and his wife struggled to hold him up. With thick German accents, they both refused aid. I asked if they were sure I received a thank you, followed by a firm no. Fair enough, I respect their pride. Still, just in case, I stayed near the shore, watching while trying to appear like I wasn’t watching. Nonetheless, they made it and, still supported by his wife and walking frame, the gentleman shuffled into the sea. Soon enough he was up to his waist and he let go of his frame, leaned back and floated in the sea. His wife returned his walking frame to the shore before joining him.

The look upon his face really touched me as his on land mobility issues disappeared. Using his hands and arms he swam slowly around, enjoying the freedom. Then his wife looked at him and her stern German features melted into a smile with such a look of love for her husband. I am not ashamed to admit that as I put my face mask on, my eyes were somewhat moist.

Thankfully my health is not too bad at the moment, but there are times with my Multiple Sclerosis that I have trouble walking. After spending a total of around two hours today swimming, I suspect I will be on my cane tomorrow, as my legs are protesting tonight. I would like to think that if I am ever in such a bad condition, or even eventually in a wheelchair, that the love of my life will be there to assist me to return to the sea from time to time. It’s so freeing and liberating to float on the surface with your head underwater, watching the sea life swimming around and beneath you. I never want to reach a point in my life that I can’t continue and, no doubt with help, I plan to be snorkeling well into my own old age.

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