She had a dream and kept it alive for about 40 years, because that’s how long it took Diana Nyad to achieve her dream. To swim across the ocean from Cuba to Florida, unprotected in the shark prone waters for more than a hundred miles, would probably be a nightmare for most of us. But not so for Nyad. Can you guess at what age she accomplished this feat? Come one, take a guess. Unless you’re already aware of her, you wouldn’t imagine that she was 64, (I’m not kidding!) when she made that epic journey. She was the first person to ever swim across this stretch of hostile waters, alive.
Her first attempt was in 1978. In 2013, she reached her sweet destination after more than 50 hours of continuous swimming, on her 5th attempt. Although she almost lost her life in her previous attempts, this iron lady never gave up. I cannot imagine that such a person exists!
Here is the TED talk she gave a few months after fulfilling her lifelong dream. This powerful yet funny talk struck the right chord in me. As silly as it may sound, I had a huge internal struggle about starting a blog (You might have read about that from my first blog post “Will anyone read my blog?”). I wasn’t sure if I was “good enough” or whether it was the “right time” or whether it was a “good idea”. But on December 28th 2016, I stumbled upon this 15 minute video and I tell you, I created my WordPress account within the 17th minute. Nyad’s story inspired me to do something, anything, worth attempting. I hope she inspires you as well.
What particularly moved me, was her final words in the video, “Find a way”. Isn’t that what we all look for? So I guess it all comes down to Acceptance. Doesn’t it? We could either choose to brood about our limitations, insecurities and failures and accept defeat or we could believe and accept that there is a way beyond all those things that, we think, holds us back. So, what are you waiting for?
I was out for a lovely morning walk, when I encountered this tree. I immediately saw a serpent-like face giving me a menacing look. I stood there transfixed, with my mind racing. I could’ve thought of it just as another tree and moved on, but I couldn’t. I could hear the tree telling me a story. Let me share it with you.
Long ago, the land was full of lush greenery with wild grass and tall trees. This was the zone of the serpents who lived quite happily, until the humans entered the picture. The land was destroyed in the name of “development”. Trees were chopped and the serpents were beaten to death, or driven away. That’s when the king of trees and the king of serpents joined forces. The king of trees let the serpent king reside in him, and together, they fought the “civilized” humans. Till today, they stand tall, telling a chosen few, the story of their victory.
I walked away with the story still echoing inside my head. Desperate to share this with someone, I dragged one of my friends to this tree. But he saw NOTHING! I was shocked. All he could see was a lump on an aging tree. I tried to describe the features I saw, the serpent-like face and the glowering eyes. Yet, they were all invisible to his rational eye.
I visited the tree again, that evening, and apologized for my friend’s lack of “sight”. The king of serpents smiled and told me that only a few gifted ones can truly “see” him. So my dear friends, here is a close up of my wonderful friend, the serpent king. I wonder now, are you gifted like me? What do you see? What story is the tree telling you?
It’s been super long hasn’t it? I hope you haven’t forgotten me! Ah! I’ve missed writing. I have a deadline coming up in a few days, so I’m extremely busy. I simply HAD to write today! To all the bloggers I follow or promised to visit, I’ll make sure to read your posts as soon as this crazy schedule comes to an end!
P.S. This tree amazed me then and still does. What do you even call it? How do you Label it? What amazes me the most is human imagination and how we associate patterns with stories. Isn’t it amazing how we do this so effortlessly?
She talks to everything around her, from her blanket to her shoes. Her imagination assigns life to the inanimate world around her. All these objects speak to her, narrating their tales to the patient listener. And she loves their stories.
This girl wasn’t blessed with a great childhood. Her own story is one she doesn’t like to recall. Back then, she desperately hunted for a refuge and finally discovered it.
She found that the fragrance of a new book, carried her far, far away from the brutal reality that smiled at her menacingly. So she rejected reality and made friends with the characters in the novels, instead. Their story became her story. Turning into an inseparable part of her, they became her and she, them.
Stories were her real home. That’s where she lived. In a dimly lit room, she used to sit by a window, through which light dared to peep in, just enough to illuminate her and the treasure she held. She would then forget her pain and her own existence, as she let the words engulf her.
She lived in her world of dreams. She still does. I know this, because I am she.
I believe, all hope isn’t lost if you had a screwed up childhood. We can still find roses among those thorns.
P.S: The photograph is a part of the Photography: Developing Your Eye I challenge. Since I am a total amateur, I would appreciate if you can give me some feedback on the photograph. Thanks!
The two children lay on the green grass below their favourite tree. They watched the cottony clouds glide across the blue sky.
“Superman!”, squeaked the little girl. Her brother laughed in agreement. He saw Superman too. “See where he’s heading?”, he asked her. She squinted her eyes to find Superman’s destination. The boy pointed towards another fluffy mass and said, “Towards that giant bear. See it?”. She then found it. The little girl giggled in delight.
Two decades later, the siblings sat in their office buildings that scraped the sky. But now, only shapeless clouds passed by.
I’m not sure if this photograph is good or not, but I love this. I mean, I loved what I saw that evening. The two trees would have grown up together, side by side, for decades. A little part of me believes that they must be best friends. I’m inspired by these trees to stick around with my loved ones through thick and thin.