SCUBA and Tree Houses


Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus—I’ve known what the acronym has stood for since I was 7. Alex Keaton, in an episode of Family Ties, taught his sister Mallory what it meant, thus teaching me. What I didn’t know though is how much I would love it. Everything about it; what I see, how I move, where I go. But within that experience, there’s one moment that does it for me. It’s the difference of maybe 3 inches, constituting the space from my mouth to my eyes.

It’s that space that we’re taught to fiercely protect as our life functions of breathing and receiving nourishment, as well as 3 of our senses all center from our mouth, nose and eyes. So we’re taught at a very young age, either by loved ones or nature, that you can’t breathe under water. We’re conditioned, rightfully, to hold our breath. Down we go. Ready? 1, 2, 3! You don’t want to feel that burning in your lungs. Yes, it triggered the coughing. Yes, it will stop after a short time.

The eyes as well–It hurts. It stings. Better to close them so the shampoo/chlorine/saltwater doesn’t get in them. Isn’t that better?

So when you first get into the ocean, head bobbing above the surface, and the dive master gives the ok to descend, he’s really asking you to trust; trust a piece of Plexiglas, trust a silicone seal, trust a tank of condensed air and trust the tube to deliver that air to you. And I do. So I breathe as my mouth is underwater.

And I keep breathing as my nose drops down. And I keep my eyes open as I fully submerge, allowing me to see the other divers all dropping the 60 ft. to the reef at different rates, giving the impression of soda pop bubbles in reverse. It’s completely liberating—seeing what I shouldn’t be able to, breathing when it shouldn’t be possible. The rest of the dive is just icing.

On Tree Houses

I checked another of life’s to-dos off my list this past week after staying in a tree house. There was just enough room in it for the twin size mattress, our upright backpacks, and Mari and myself to stand.

We rigged our flashlight on a karabiner for a DIY chandelier. But despite its unvarnished nature, the experience was fantastic. It was living a Disney movie (at least when I liked Disney).

Swiss Family Robinson had nothing on us, as Mari freshetted off the side in the middle of the night. In truth, it was more Peter Pan than Swiss Family Robinson, as it felt like a chance at childhood again—an opportunity to remember back to wanting to be an astronaut, or imagining having superpowers.

It was a glimpse where 22 ft. in the air, lofted in a tree, we refused to grow up—at least for 5 days.

Jeff Lee
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