Ah, to have gills and dive into the cold clear underworld of the fishes... to lie in suspension as a current of tiny oxygen bubbles and leaves roll past in seemingly slow motion. You in a room of water with your fellow fish, what a dream it is.
Perhaps it is the reflective surface of water, a line so definitively drawn between air and water, that causes such a mysterious attraction. From the air above we strain to peer into deep pools, but all we see are leaves bristling in the wind and dark shadows lurking beneath. From below, the fish see a constant wave of their own reflection on the surface. We only get a glimpse of each other when the sun beams through and the pool riffles subside into a calm windowpane of clarity.
Or perhaps it is the purity of sparkling spring water, as a vital sustenance of our own life, that gives us a fundamental draw to the watery underworld. An elemental attraction that pulls our cloths off as we jump in with elation. Either way, the desire to swim with fish rivals the dream to grow wings and soar with the birds of the sky.
It is a mysterious world full of alien creatures, colorful rocks, and fish, a beauty that has been put into prose for millenniums. It is completely foreign and yet it is in everyone's backyard.
Earlier this summer Blue Ridge Discovery Center received a grant to implement a Freshwater Snorkeling program with the goal of connecting our youth to the lifeblood of the Blue Ridge Mountains. By immersing kids in a setting they have never experienced before, we will be generating a profound drive of curiosity, exploration and discovery. Armed with wetsuits, snorkels and masks, we are about to cross that mirrored boundary.