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In a lifetime

You only go through life once, so while you have the chance, live, and savor every moment. Take every opportunity that presents itself to create a memory and leave a mark.
A low groan escapes my lips as I heave the heavy kayak a few more yards before setting it down again. The sun beats on my back relentlessly, and beads of sweat appear along the base of my neck. I inhale deeply, taking in the humid Maui air, laced with the distinct salty smell of the ocean. I slowly let out my breath as I bend down to retrieve the kayaks handle, and drag it the last few feet to the waters edge. My mother picks up the other end, and we carefully lower the boat into the turquoise water. We grasp the oars, slowly get situated in the built-in seats and push off the beach. I start the paddling rhythm at an even, steady, pace. We slowly glide out further and further sailing into deeper, darker water, the color of a favorite pair of jeans. We stop paddling and let the boat drift a few moments. We are quiet. Listening. Waiting.
Water lazily splashes against the side of the small boat, making it rock to a constant rhythm. Then I hear it. The rumbling song of the humpback whale. I can see the vibrations of the noise making the water trapped in the curves of the boat quiver. I look excitedly at my mother , her eyes reflecting my emotions like a mirror. The noise gets louder and louder, it seems to be coming from my left side. I peer over the edge and gasp. A large rotund shadow the size of a school bus is slowly floating to the surface. My eyes grow wider as the blue-gray color of a whale breaks the surface only feet from where I sit in awe. The whale rolls on its back and flashes the white underside of its fin in my direction. The fin flaps down onto the water, sending salty droplets flying my way as the whale swims downward again. I am immobilized by excitement, waiting for the whale to reappear. She does not disappoint me, and this time returns with her calf. The baby humpback is as big as a minivan, its eye the size of a softball. It floats by, less then ten feet from me. His round, black eyes take in the scene, a glint of curiosity in them. He observes a few moments more, silently swimming around our boat, then looses interest. He dives under the glassy surface, his tail, the last to be claimed by the endless depth of water.
My mother and I part ways with the whales. They go off toward the horizon which at this point, looks like the edge of the world, as we start our long journey back to shore. The whole while we don’t say a word, too lost in our own thoughts and emotions.
Throughout a life time only a few memories return again and again. Some are good, some are bad, some are painful, some are happy, some are sad, but all of them teach a lesson, and we learn from our mistakes. We are alive for a finite time, so while we are here, we need to live in the moment, learn, remember, and treasure the past, and have faith in and prepare for the future. We must appreciate every memory we make, and love every moment we get. After all, we only have a lifetime.





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