My magical universe

Who says you have to travel far and wide to see all the magic that this world has to offer? The truth is you don’t, you just need to know where to look or rather you just need to be ready when it magically appears. It may be over in a blink of an eye, but then again if your eyes are closed you may not see it at all…

So, a few weeks ago someone mentioned to me that Irish waters are bioluminescent, meaning that if you get into an algae bloom at night, they will light up. And if you grew up in the 2000s, one picture will come to your mind: the beach where Leonardo Dicaprio and Virginie Ledoyen jump into the water and “Pure Shores” from All Saints is playing in the background and the water lights up around the two as they kiss… (spoiler alert?! Seriously, if you haven’t seen the movie yet, you should stop reading right now and go see the movie and then come back reading the end of this blog). If you’re anything like me, you knew when you saw that scene that this is what life is about, not the sappy love story, not the unrealistic deep-water almost-drowning kiss, but an unforgettable night where nature herself will put on a magnificent show.

While I really really really wanted to see glowing water, I honestly figured I would have to travel to Thailand one of these years. And then I realized, I don’t need to… So, there I was, last night, in West Cork about an hour and a half from my home at 7.30 pm at Lough Hyne, a saltwater lake surrounded by lush green forests, a nature reserve with pristine water (but then again, I think all Irish waters are pristine!).

I was geared up with water-proof clothing and before I knew it, was put into a two-people kayak with an Italian man, who spoke very little but said so much. Night fell quickly, in a matter of minutes we were kayaking in the dark, listening to the quiet that only nature can bring, and enjoyed nature. I didn’t notice it at first, but after I while I saw a few particles light up in the otherwise dark water, as I was slowly paddling along the shoreline. It was quaint, a cute, and definitely enough to keep me entertained, but also not the light-show that Leo had me believe it would be. And then I looked up and I was reminded of the scene where Dicaprio and Ledoyen take photos of the night sky and talk about a parallel universe.

I couldn’t help but think that if this is what life has to offer in all its glory, with all its ups and downs, with all the heartbreaks, all the moments of insanity, all of the magic that surrounds us, why would I ever want a parallel universe? Why would I ever want to leave my here and now to be some place else, when here and now was everything and more than I ever thought possible? Obviously nothing is ever perfect, something could always be better or different, but honestly, this – right now – is as good as it gets, and it’s pretty damn good, if you ask me. I get to live my best life, I get to educate myself, I get to pursue my dreams, I get to work in a field that I absolutely love, I get to communicate my thoughts, I get to do so many incredible things that only ten years ago did not seem possible. Not because I couldn’t do it, but because I didn’t know that I wanted to do it.

Yes, I don’t get to live with A right now, but he lives with me, he lives through all my stories – and I have a lot of them, many of them VERY SCARY, many of them hilarious, but most just a collection of words that anyone else would choose to ignore but for A and me, that’s how we love each other, through our words. In a parallel universe, we may have not defied the odds and we would just be a mere spectacle – if that – in each other’s lives. We may have never danced together, never decided to give this relationship our best shot, never made each other laugh until we cried. We may have done a lot of things differently, and we would definitely both be OK, one way or another, but life’s not just about being okay, it’s about being alive and letting magic whisk you away into a different universe. Not a parallel universe, mind you, but to a place you may have never thought possible…

So, there I was, in the pitch black on a very dark saltwater lake, contemplating the deeper meanings in life, while my trusty Italian kayak-sharer moved us into the middle of the lake. I wondered why we had to be so far from shore, and the second I finished that thought, I was whisked away, magically awe-inspired, and happy tears forming in my eyes. I have never experienced anything like it, with a few swift paddle movements, our kayak was surrounded by blinding algae bloom, twinkling in the dark, while I held my breath in fear of scaring the lights away (I know… right?). While we slowly floated on the lake, my hand touched the water surface, leaving behind a streak of bright lights and life was all of a sudden just that: magical.

I couldn’t form any words, just glee and happiness, when my kayak-sharer (what’s the proper term for when you share a kayak with a stranger? Kayak-stranger?) positioned us towards the east, towards the open sea (no worries we were far from being out in the unprotected deep blue) and as I enjoyed the darkness, the quiet, the twinkling stars, the blinking algae, there was the full moon rising in front of me. I am not sure if it was the day, or the ambiance, or my eyes, but I have never seen the moon so bright. The entire lake lit up, reflecting back to the moon. It was amazing.

Lough Hyne in mid September

What that meant though, was that our algae bloom would not be visible because of the bright moon light. See, algae bloom is hard to capture, white lights make it nearly impossible to see the algae, which is also why I didn’t take any photos until we were back at shore (p.s. the little light you see in the middle of the photo is a small boat that also enjoyed the algae bloom).

So, absolutely, if you ever are in West Cork, come dry weather or wet, you should definitely make a trip to Lough Hyne and get yourself some front-row tickets to the magnificent bioluminiscent algae nature show that will definitely capture your mind. And also, don’t worry too much about what ifs. In a parallel universe you may be a rich, successful, incredibly irresistible character, but then again, you may also be deeply unhappy, so make the most of what you have today, and make sure that every chance you get, you allow yourself to be transported to a different universe, opening your mind, your heart, and leading you to happiness. After all, we all deserve some magic in our lives!

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