Tag: sea turtles

How Can I Keep From….Smiling

How Can I Keep From….Smiling

simonelipscomb (1)I felt the dolphins before I parked my car. Before my feet reached the sugar-white sand or my face felt the warmth of the pre-dawn salt spray, I sensed their sleek bodies slicing through sea water. When I crested the top of the path leading over the dune the first thing I saw was several dorsal fins moving up and down through golden water. It was perhaps the most glorious morning I’ve ever spent as a sea turtle volunteer.

simonelipscomb (4)Clouds were building all around. The towering tops of some reflected the sun, not yet above the horizon. Their flat bottoms hung close to the Gulf as if teasing the surface with the sweet kisses of raindrops.

As the light increased the surface of the water turned that metallic slate-blue-turquoise highlighted by flecks of orange or gold or peach, depending on the angle. This is when the shore is at its most magic, at least in my mind.

As I strolled the sand looking for sea turtle tracks and gazing at the magnificent clouds I felt immense peace….and joy. At one point I realized I was grinning widely and even laughing at the beauty of it. A dear friend and teacher recently told me the Ocean had claimed me as Her own. Never have those words felt so true.

simonelipscomb (6)I thought back to the decision that brought me back to the Alabama Coast. My significant other had decided to move back to Iraq and I didn’t want to spend any more time alone in the overly-large home I owned on a mountain in Asheville. I had also grown weary of snow and ice and howling winds that seemed constant in the winter. I knew it was time to sell the house and move…but where? The man in my life followed his Path to work in Iraq. Where was my Path leading me?

I thought about purchasing a smaller home in the Asheville area at a lower elevation. I pondered moving to North Georgia. But the example set by my partner made me think…where is my heart calling me? When I put it that way, I narrowed it down. A coast. And even though I explored other coastal areas, it was this beautiful place of my birth that tugged on my heart.

simonelipscomb (5)There is no magic ball that tells me what’s next, if there will be a man and partnership in my life, what I’ll be doing or where I’ll be living in a year..five years . But I do know this…I am happy. I am joy-full. I am smiling in my heart. The Ocean has claimed me as Her own. I rejoice to have such a mighty Mother, Teacher, Friend.



Keep It Real

Keep It Real

simonelipscomb.com (202)I woke up early my first morning back from two weeks of desert and ocean and heard myself say out loud, “Keep it real.” I was referring to breaking out of that habit of turning on an electronic device as soon as I was conscious. There, among fish, cactus and iguanas, I was either scuba diving at dawn, photographing the sunrise or writing beside the Ocean…all contemplative and solitary experiences. I didn’t want to return to old habits.

simonelipscomb.com (5)With pen and pad in hand, I went to my hammock chair on the back screened porch. It seemed to be inviting me to sit and contemplate.  The cat kids joined me as we welcomed the day under the massive arching branches of my friend, the grandmother live oak tree. I sat quietly observing the sounds, listening to the dawn.

simonelipscomb (121)I’ve pondered the reason I feel so alive in Bonaire. Is it diving? Ocean? Desert? Latitude? What if it’s simply spending so many hours outdoors each day. What if it’s that simple.

simonelipscomb (44)There are many distractions at home…stacks of mail to sort and recycle, Netflix series  paused mid-season, Facebook, emails, telephone messages. It’s an endless list created just to navigate each day. Everything on my to-do list seems to take me further away from the reality of nature and more specifically, the connection that nature and I share. When I unplug from nature, I am unplugging from my self. These castles of distractions I build seem to carry me further from home, further from who I am in my most physical self and spiritual core.

simonelipscomb.com (215)Rainbow cotton threads supported my body and I swayed gently. Birdsong filled the air. A barred owl hooted nearby. Cardinals, chickadees, titmice, wrens, warblers and even a random sea gull voice created a welcome song to the day. Flashes of wings flitted among the courtyard greenery as my cats and I sat watching, welcoming life.

Stanley K, my orange tabby friend, jumped on the ledge at the screen and threaded his head in and out of the hammock support strings. I don’t know why he did it but he appeared to be having fun. So I wondered….what do I do just because it is fun and playful? Do I miss out on life because I’m too serious….there are those piles of correspondence in paper and electronic form. Do I allow myself the freedom of play while in the land of saltwater and desert, fish and iguanas and not so much when I return? Do I censor my relationship with nature?

simonelipscomb (10)The day before I wandered through my yard and noticed someone had trimmed the shrubs in my yard while I was away…without my request or permission. I felt anger arise. I don’t like them cut into perfect spheres and prefer a more natural shape so the new shape really irritated me as it was generated from some random person that maintains the development’s plants (not invited into my yard). I sat with my strong emotions as an observer and realized that in Bonaire it’s easy to be fully who I am, open with my wild-woman self…the part of me that is fiercely connected to nature, gently connected…deeply aware of her connection with all life. When I return to my home it feels like a constant inner battle to stay real with my self, like I’m fighting an established norm to fit into a box or in the case of my shrub friends, a ‘perfect’ sphere. It’s draining and exhausting at times.

SimoneLipscomb (6)I don’t like boxes or conforming for the sake of conforming; yet I know, on some deep level, the constant attention to the edge is what motivates me to create. Dancing with the edge builds courage. It cultivates determination. It deepens passion to pursue the dreams. Just realizing this truth gives me understanding and thus fuels my efforts even more to keep it real…to stay connected with trees, earth, animals, sky, ocean….to dance with nature as She calls me.

simonelipscomb.com (6)Am I willing to drink the Koolaid and conform to the machine that keeps me asleep to my strong, wild and outrageously beautiful connection with nature or am I willing to continue to work for my freedom? If you’ve read this far and you know anything about me you already know the answer to that question. Koolaid be damned.

Bob Marley Speaks

Bob Marley Speaks

SimoneLipscomb (3)Dawn. I was walking with my scuba gear to the Ocean. As I approached the entry, an osprey cried and I glanced up. Just above the dive benches was the magnificent fish hawk perched in a tree. He flew out over the water as I continued walking. I’ve seen them many times but never perched on a tree…over the bench I was about to use. Pretty big smile to carry into the dive.

SimoneLipscomb (2)Nice dive, beautiful fish, easy 54 minutes of gentle kicking and gliding and watching life on the reef begin the day. No other human here, just the Ocean and this mermaid-woman hybrid. And today I went further, to an area where elk horn coral ‘trees’ are being used to grow this coral species. I felt resounding H O P E throughout my being. There are people that care, that are taking action to help. Another smile with my entire being.

SimoneLipscomb (1)During the time underwater I thought of a former dive buddy and smiled at the saltwater happiness we experienced in years past. My heart and mind sent him gratitude and love, that energy that never dies or changes…only grows and deepens as compassion grows within us. Heart happy goodness, a smiling heart for this human sea-creature.

Photo from the internet....don't know who to credit with it.
Photo from the internet….don’t know who to credit with it.

After the dive, as I was walking back to the condo…still dripping with sea water and lost in the peaceful feeling of saltwater baptism…I saw two bright yellow birds wearing bright, orange caps. The saffron finches watched me walk up to the sidewalk where they were perched and so I stopped and greeted them. They stared at me in my state of saltwater sogginess and gave me a message as we connected for several moments.

At the time I didn’t really know what it was they were telling me, but a few minutes later I got it. Even though Bob Marley sang of three little birds, that’s the song that came to mind and reminded me of the sweetness of life…in this moment…in the present. Now.

“Don’t worry about a thing, ‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright. Singin’: Don’t worry about a thing, ‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright. Rise up this morning, smile with the risin’ sun, ‘two’ little birds, Each by my doorstep singing’ sweet songs, of melodies pure and true saying’ this is my message to you…don’t worry about a thing. ‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright.”

There is hope within this mermaid woman today….for all life, for every living thing. So today, as I welcomed the day in my saltwater way, I smiled with the risin’ sun and it has been shining all day long within me.


Note: Many of you have asked me about the solo scuba diving I do. I wanted to write a tiny bit about that…first, I am an instructor and whenever I’m with students, especially new students, I’m basically solo diving with the added responsibility of whoever is with me. Secondly, I am certified as a self-reliant/solo diver. Third, as a sidemount certified cave diver I am basically solo diving in the cave (with other people present of course) because of the way my gas supply is configured. And lastly, I have hundreds of dives and use my cave diving ‘rules’ when solo diving…I turn the dive when I reach thirds so I have two-thirds of my gas supply to return on, etc. And I always dive shallow enough to do a controlled emergency swimming ascent to the surface if necessary. I do NOT condone solo diving and always, always encourage divers to keep in practice and get instruction for new kinds of dives. A solo diver must be well-equipped in underwater navigation skills and self-rescue skills….etc. So please do NOT go off on your own as a scuba diver unless you have extensive dive experience and proper training.

Magic of Submersion

Magic of Submersion


All focus comes to the breath. The feeling of freedom comes with a cost of being on life support. The metal tank cinched snugly to my body, the array of hoses and regulators each contributing their role to my underwater experience.

Amid fish and corals, sea turtles and respectful divers the true meaning of home is experienced. The Mother and I are reunited once more.

Her salt pulses through sister turtle’s body and mine as well. Such stillness…such openness. Peace. Home…..Freedom.

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