Surface Intervals (ii)

This is (ii) to a (i) that I am still cleaning up, the latter a more literal depiction of what a Surface Interval is. For those unfamiliar with the term: a surface interval is the time that your body needs between SCUBA dives to recover the balance of gases in your bloodstream.

Literally, it is a point of time during a dive excursion where you cannot do anything except wait. You sit on the boat, air tank in tow and your wet suit halfway down a salted body. By then, you would have had browned a little, dusted lightly over (when you’re no longer wet) with the sand and salt the sea has left on your skin. Cigarettes are lit liberally, even though lung capacity is one of the things that keep a diver alive while underneath (but then again one whom holds a cigarette isn’t that much concerned with non-immediate survivability, is he not?) But I digress. You can’t do anything but sit and watch the water as it beckons you to come back, come back so both of you can play your game of tug — her trying to pull you into her depths and you resisting coyly. One of you must win, and right now it is still you.

This is still a surface interval. As with most intervals, it has to do with transition, being between two things that have somehow left a gap such that crossing from one to the other requires a sort of gymnastic navigation: a hop, skip, jump. Unlike most intervals, this one has to do with letting your blood breathe. We are all spelunkers of some sort. Some of us dive into caves, some underwater, some into other sorts of depths. But some of use forget that breath and blood is a limited resource. We can only dive into so many things at one time, and for only so long before carbon dioxide starts to dull your eyes and nitrogen starts to crinkle in your joints. We cannot hold our breaths forever.

So once in a while we’ll have to stop and turn our heads skywards. Stop to break the water’s surface and breathe. Breathe, and wait for the next dive.

So here is a series of pictures about breathing. Because when you’re in a surface interval, all you can do is breathe.