As a young mind, nature provides a pavilion from which the insatiable curiosity can be quenched by facts, bizarre, queer, funny, shocking, grizzly, lovely and beautiful, all observed from the world around us. But one that has stood the test of time in my mind is that sharks never go to sleep. Could that be true? Like never taking a wink, or say a power nap in between a snack? So do sharks dream at all? Perhaps that is all done while swimming round the globe, terrorizing pockets of seals and other shark delicacies from different areas in the vast expanse of the oceans.
Since the shark, in this case I’m thinking of the great white, is not exactly a partner with which to engage an academic discussion. I’ve seen a shark in an oceanarium once, the savage stare says it all. You cannot tame this beast, let alone have a conversation with. And since I’m also not a specialist in marine biology, I have let this problem go unresolved. It is an itch I can’t reach to scratch – oh, the torture. That is until yesterday. It occurred to me that there are other areas in life that must be repeated constantly, without taking a break, for the rest of one’s life. Just like the shark that has to be constantly on the move, without having a shut-eye.
I connected this to hiking. These last two months have seen me focus on my career and other areas that required my attention, bound to a desk. I haven’t been able to visit any hill in the months of February and March. I can feel something is wrong. Something is not in its place. I feel like a huge yawning hole has suddenly appeared in my life. It’s like shark has taken a nap, has stopped moving, starving itself of the essential oxygen and is now spiraling down to the bottom of the ocean. Yes, I’m told the shark has no waving gills, and therefore has to remain in motion to force the water past its body, in the process harvesting the molecule that keeps fish and mammals alive. I need to return to the hills otherwise, I feel like I will suffocate down in the valley.
This is a blessing. To know that it is not enough to do one good act once. We must do it again, and again. It’s true for food. We have to eat constantly. It’s true for our spiritual lives. We have to engage God daily. It’s true for our career. We have to work everyday. It’s true for adventure. We have to go back to nature and engage it constantly. We are not far removed from what is essential, what is lovely and what is good. It’s a beautiful mechanism.
And all it took for me to realize that is the tale about sharks never going to sleep. I’ll return to the mountains and breathe that fresh air once again. And I know, this is something I will do to the last day on earth. I’m looking forward to that.
By the way, I will never feel sorry for sharks anymore. If you are an apex predator, on top of your game, then constancy will be the currency. Others call it keeping the momentum.
What’s your game? What do you need to keep on doing in order to have a fulfilled life? Do it well. Do it all the time. Don’t stop. Just like Mr Shark on the move, all the time!