October 27, 2008
Lightening strikes and the house catches on fire. It’s nature versus man; it’s always a mystery. Man tries to fight, but nature is the destined winner. Hurricanes, tornados, fire, and floods can all overcome what man has built and created. Man is not living in his own territory but in Mother Nature’s. Like it or not, we must learn to respect what is here for us.
I’m a swimmer. I have been from the age of six, and I always will be. I do well in pools. I’m an “A” swimmer practicing in the fastest lane, and I love it. With each stroke the water ripples and the clear view to the bottom of the pool becomes distorted. I breathe to both sides allowing me to always be aware of my surroundings. I draw closer to the black “T” and I know I’m at the wall. I flip before I hit. I’m a swimmer, but I’m meant for the pool.
The moment I felt it, I had chills up and down my spine. As I splashed into the giant Atlantic waves, there was no way to avoid getting wet. The water was dark, not clear like I expected when I agreed to swim. I rarely find myself in open water, and the last time I had been in the ocean I was swept away by the undertow. I hesitated, and then inched my way into the great mysterious deep.
“There haven’t been any jellyfish this summer” Mary told me when we were waist deep. Most would reply with a sigh of relief, but I didn’t hesitate to question “What about that”. Our fun quickly halted when she agreed to my discovery. Recognizing my fear of open water and its mysteries, we opted to get out and walk back to her house; we decided we would see what the beach looked like the next day.
I’ve always been afraid of open water and everything associated with it. I can remember years ago swimming in a lake with a few friends. We were making our way out to a raft where some other kids were playing. We were almost there when one of the kids on the raft spotted a fish. “It’s ok, Nikki. It won’t hurt you” I said; pretending to reassure the girl next to me, when really I was trying to comfort myself.
We returned the following day and walked the shore line. We were surprised to see it covered with washed up jelly fish. It was my last day in Virginia, and I wanted to make the most of it. The decision was left up to me, to swim or not to swim. Living in a land-locked state, I rarely see the ocean’s sparkle. I knew I wanted to be in the sea, I love the water, but I could not allow myself to forget the fear it presented. I needed to make my choice quickly; I had to begin my journey home in just a few hours. Sooner than even I expected, I ran down the beach, through the waves, and into the ocean. Voila!
When man faces nature, there is an expected winner. Yet if respected man can live in peace with Mother Nature. We must go in to the fight knowing there is a chance and respect it. We must go into the fight fearless.

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