The power of touch

Just a few hours ago a dolphin let me touch her.

I say ‘let me’ because for the past six or seven dives with her, she has always been – skillfully and deliberately – just beyond arms reach. Even with a stretch and a lunge I never managed to touch her.

But today she decided to do a by-pass close enough to me to let my hand brush along her spine toward her tail. Perhaps six, seven, eight or more times… I can’t be sure.

Because after that first touch there were oodles of fly-by moments, ‘look-I’ve-snuck-up-behind-you-again’ moments plus a lovely, skill full swim 2ft above me as I idled along just above the kelp… all melting now into memories of a dive I will be giving thanks for for many years to come.

I’d be hard pressed to describe the physical sensation. Certainly water temperature… skin tough and strong, yet supple and soft… silky smooth apart from some dips and bumps from cuts and grazes (which were very distinctly felt)… yet with a slight feel of a film or scum of sort too – rather like what one feels from dried carrageen seaweed when it’s been put in hot water for a few minutes…

… but it was the internal sense of the touch that was most satisfying. I’ve been in this dolphin’s presence many times now, watching from the shore and being in the water with her. But with the touch came a new internal sensation, felt somewhere around the heart area. Perhaps an opening of chakras? Perhaps a parasympathetic shift in heart rate due to my brain waves slowing and moving into resonance with hers? Or maybe was the impact of that physical contact experienced more on the emotional level? Because there was something akin to of the heart-glow of love I’ve felt in the past when a friend has risked being present and helped me drop the masks to reveal my broken-ness, vulnerability and other not-too-appreciated aspects of myself.

I’m not sure.

All I am sure of is that…

… even though it was my hand that reached out…

… it was she who touched me.