“Beauty isn’t just satisfaction. You don’t just rest in it. It’s not just distress. It’s not just painful. It’s a joyful pain. It breaks your heart… A joy, a wonder, and a distress, more deep than any other because here one touches truth. Such emotions all beauty induce; an astonishment, a delicious wonderment, a longing, a love, a trembling that is all delight. All perceive it, not all are stunned sharply by it. Only those whom we call lovers ever are…” -From a lecture by Peter Kreeft about the mystery of beauty
The first time I went scuba diving in the ocean I was a teenager. I was in Kauai on vacation and being the only certified diver in my family I went alone for a day of diving at a local hot spot. My log book was pretty lean in open water. Outside of some lake diving that had barely 12 inches of visibility and dives at the exhibits at the local zoo, I hadn’t seen much else. I loved my zoo dives, but I needed something more. I was anxious to get into the water. We geared up, and I was first in the water.
As I descended, amongst strangers, the sparse coral opened up on my right and we dropped onto a shelf about 25 feet down and it was like a curtain was lifted and suddenly, the rich blue waters revealed a whole world just 30 feet below the surface. For almost 50 feet in all directions I could see everything with pristine clarity and the sea was teeming with life. There were trumpet fish, dragon eels, green sea turtles, Honu, and a variety of other reef fish. The colors were vast and varied and the water was very much alive with movement and purpose. I hesitated before moving forward, taking it all in, this beauty and majesty unfolding underneath the calm, unassuming waters above. The glassy surface I’d just breached betrayed what would be found for those who would venture here. I exhaled, the bubbles soft against my face, feeling almost a voyeur in the sweeping landscape. I’d never seen anything like it. The beauty literally overwhelmed me.