The expression “I saw my life pass before my eyes,” is generally used by someone who has had a near-death experience. While I have no idea what may occur when the end nears, I have always liked that thought, as long as one only has to recall the pleasant events.
Sometimes, I consider scenes that might appear in my head when my time comes, and I find it is a rather Forrest Gump-esque list: The night at Girl Scout camp on an island in Upstate New York, snuggled in my sleeping bag, a cool breeze wafting through the pines, lake water brushing up against the rocks. An elk in Colorado, maybe ten yards between us, his majestic antlered head and dark brown eyes freezing me in place, before he turned and disappeared silently into the forest. A dive in St. Kitts where I witnessed four tiny spotted drum fish, each no bigger than a thumbnail, long black-and-white fins waving as they danced in a row before a reef.
And now, I have a new vision to carry with me. A few days ago in the sea off the north shore of St. Croix, we spotted three bottlenose dolphins from our dive boat. We quickly donned our scuba gear and descended to a shallow area white with sand. We knelt on the bottom and waited.
Thirty minutes later, chilled from inactivity, we gave up, and swam away, perusing a group of coral heads down over the edge of the sand. Cold and tired we headed back toward the boat. The dive master, E.T., and I were the last in the water. We waited below the boat as other divers ascended.
Then, E.T. grunted to get my attention. She pointed at three dolphins that swam directly toward us, their snouts dipping with each gentle push of their tails. The largest, a female perhaps eight-feet long, silvery-gray with a white belly, was escorted by two smaller males. The female eyed me and guided the others over my head. I could have reached up and touched her as they glided past. Then, she dove to the bottom and stuck her nose in the sand. She stirred up a white cloud, rolled onto her back and lay on the bottom, while the males playfully nudged her. Soon, she twisted, launched herself off the sand, and they disappeared.
We waited. And they returned, over and over playing before us. Then, the female stopped, touched her tail to the sand and straightened. I had always thought of dolphins as curved creatures, but she now stood perfectly straight, snout pointed toward the sky, fins out, a signal perhaps to the males who approached and straightened as well, clinging to her sides, motionless.
They appeared as a marble statue, majestic, magical, holding the pose above the sand, her bearing that of an empress. Then she twirled and the males followed. What came next can only be described in one way: dolphin sex. I felt like a voyeur but could not turn away. I will let you fill in the rest.
At one point, overwhelmed by the beauty, this gift I’d been given by the sea, I touched my hand to my heart. When I gazed at E.T., she had done the same. We stared at one another, knowing we had shared something special.
When we finally ascended, I was speechless. Those who know me would be astounded at the idea. And I am still unsure my words here do the experience justice.
On the boat, I hugged the dive master, a woman I had met just a few hours earlier.
“E.T., when I’m dying, I will remember this,” I said.
It was only then that I noticed the elegant tattoo she bore on her right hip: a dolphin.
The view my dolphin video click here: https://www.facebook.com/simeon.tolar/videos/10156002467296076/
Blank Slate Press/Amphorae Publishing Group
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As a Vietnam veteran and former Special Forces sniper descends into the throes of mental illness, he latches onto a lonely pregnant teenager and a group of Pentecostal zealots – the Children of Light – who have been waiting over thirty years in the Arizona desert for Armageddon. When the Amtrak Sunset Limited, a passenger train en route to Los Angeles, is derailed in their midst in a deadly act of sabotage, their lives are thrown into turmoil. As the search for the saboteurs heats up, the authorities uncover more questions than answers. And then the girl vanishes. As the sniper struggles to maintain his sanity, a child is about to be born in the wilderness.