By Kerri Romeo
While Alice enjoys exploring on her own, she admits when the doubts of her own progress begin to rise within, she misses some of the guides in Wonderland like the Caterpillar, the Cheshire Cat and of course the White Rabbit to inspire her. Up ahead she reads a sign for “Shining Time Train Station”. Maybe she will find some direction here! A Conductor seemingly appears out of nowhere as a guide for another curious girl much like herself. Alice listens in…
“He said what we’re doing isn’t important.” – Tanya
“Nonsense. In this station there are big things to do, and little things to do. But they’re all important because they all help to get the job done.” – The ConductorShining Time Station: Whistle While You Work
Even without a planned destination, when Alice’s train arrives she jumps on feeling purposeful once again. No matter where the train takes her this time, it will be important.
She settles in and notices the Ladybug on the window. What does she see? Alice looks out too at an unexpectedly serene scene. Soft pastel colors swirl by from a pale pink sky and clear blue waves as they gently skim the shoreline before blending back into themselves. Alice knew this would be her next stop…
“I’d like to be under the sea, In an octopus’ garden in the shade…”
In comparison to the pool of her own tears she once swam in, this saltwater brings Alice a feeling of elation. She excitedly kicks off her shoes to feel the sand between her toes and the water dance over her feet before she pauses to look out at the seemingly infinite sea. It is powerful and peaceful all at once. At first, Alice breathes in the illusion of a solitary moment before she begins to see (with her soul) all of the life that is happening deep beneath the surface. We are not alone. Just because we cannot always see the lives of others doesn’t mean they do not exist. What would happen if we remembered the forgotten places?
Suddenly a crowd of baby turtles crawl past Alice in a mad rush to the ocean for their first swim. A pod of dolphins jumps in and out of the water in the distance. Seagulls circle and swoop into the water closer to shore. A fox sneaks by to grab what a fisherman left behind. But what lies beneath in the aquatic world?
Just as Alice collects seashells along the shoreline, a purple Octopus (who existed before the dinosaurs) is gathering her favorite objects to create a garden (we know how much Alice loves a garden, by land or by sea!) or coconut shells to build a home while changing her colors along the way to feel safe in their surroundings (don’t we all have those moments of self preservation?) And colorful coral reefs line the ocean floors in a colorful mural of life-giving habitat. It is a symbiotic palace!
“I’d ask my friends to come and see, An octopus’ garden with me”
Like Sergeant Pepper (the grazing cow Alice met on the farm last week), a sea cow (aka a manatee) grazes on seagrass in the underwater meadows along with green turtles. It sounds like a world Alice wants to be in. She wants to be where the sea creatures are. What could go wrong? Shark? Crocodile? Alice hears a commotion as a commercial boat approaches putting the curious, confused and slow-to-react manatee at risk of injury. The noise amplified beneath the water blocks communication between a mother dolphin and her young calf. A turtle mistakes a plastic bag that was left behind for a jellyfish. The warming waters are stressing the coral out, causing self-destructive behavior that affects not only their lives, but the lives around them.
Alice wonders what guidance the Conductor would give to protect the world under the sea. She stood again in a quiet moment by herself. Like looking deep into the ocean, she knows that sometimes the guide does not come along and the answers come from the unknown places within. What if the world decided to look deeper into the ocean and into the depths of our own souls? Could it make a difference? What would it look like?
“Knowing they’re happy and they’re safe”
Kerri spends her days as an office administrator for a ballet barre manufacturer and her free time playing frisbee with her dog in NJ. Often at a loss for words in person, she writes to make sense of the world and connect with others. She wishes for more curiosity & kindness in the world.