I have a memory of myself once, as a small child, at the seashore, walking into the sea, playing there, relishing the cool water that came up on the sand and receded, moving into it with enthusiasm. I remember suddenly being caught— a wave that gripped me, flung me up, pushed me down, whirled me.
I spluttered, coughed, desperate for clear air. I didn’t know which way was up. I could feel panic closing my throat, my eyes, blinded. I struggled, kicked, flailed.
Unexpectedly my head bumped the sandy ocean floor.
I whirled again.
And then my head broke through the surface of the water, into the freedom of breathing. I filled my lungs.
It is good to remember this. For today I am caught by the wave, rolling. I don’t know which way is up, which way is down.
But I do know this: either my head will hit the sand or it will break the surface of the water. Either way, I will know which way is up.