At Home in the Ocean (#375)

Woebegone is the word for Charlie’s face all day, despite a long morning bike ride, sushi for lunch, and a trip to his beloved ocean, where Charlie swam out farther than almost everyone, Jim ever behind, and lay atop his boogie board, and kicked out into the waves.
Charlie has been doing more than well at his new school. He can barely wait to board the “yallow school bus” and his lovely boy-ness has been more than rubbing off on his new teachers.

But in Autismland, hard times always seem to intermix with the sweetest, best-of-all ones. And so it was yesterday when Charlie, full of his usual weekend worry, head-banged as soon as he walked in the front door yesterday evening. He got upset then, and all through today he said little, smiled fleetingly, and looked on and off confused.

But what a beauty in the ocean.

Charlie loaded his boogie board into the back of the car and—a first—-kicked out to meet a wave. (Jim had to help him turn himself back towards the shore to get a ride on a wave.) At other times, Charlie faced an oncoming wave with the boogie board attached to his left wrist with a velcro strap; as Jim had taught him to do last year, Charlie ducked straight into the bottom of the wave, the board crashing out behind him. Last year, Charlie would have been agitated at having this large object attached to him and swinging around in the water, but today, after both he and his board had disappeared under the wave, Charlie’s wet head would emerge and the board wagging in the water, a few feet away. And then Charlie would be ducking again as another wave came.

After “shrimmps, frennz fwies” and a few rides, Charlie fell soundly asleep within ten minutes of coming home.

I know the ocean–know that being in and at the ocean—brings a certain something to Charlie. I’ll call it peace, or, more specifically, being in his real element—his true home—for Charlie.

8 Responses to “At Home in the Ocean (#375)”
  1. Sharon Faulk says:

    What is it about water? Sometimes I feel I could live there myself.

  2. Me too—Charlie ran to get his swimsuit on at 8am this morning! He will have to settle for the pool today, alas.

  3. KC'sMommy says:

    Gosh that Ocean looks so refreshing! It has been so hot here in this desert, lol.

    Charlie is quite a surfer boy! He sure is a natural and I agree with the first commenter, “what is it about the water?” My kiddo loves the water too:)

  4. Wade Rankin says:

    I know well Charlie’s sense of peace in the ocean. Surf on young Mr. Fisher!

  5. Brett says:

    We don’t live near the ocean anymore, but river’s seem to have the same effect. On a float trip down the Meramec River yesterday, Z spent more time in the river than he did in the raft. More than a few comments from our friends. “He’s like a fish!”

  6. The Meramec! What memories that brings back, Brett, in particular the weeklong “7th grade girls retreat” I had to attend as a faculty advisor when I was a Latin teacher at a certain school in St. Louis—–I could not swim then (not yet having had to follow Charlie around the pool—not yet having Charlie) and was always assigned to go orienteering or rope climbing with the students.

    We return to the ocean tomorrow….

  7. Vidya Ganesh says:

    Great to hear that Charlie is doing very well in his new school. He sure has a magical charm…doesn’t he? :)))

    I completely agree with Sharon’s comment. What is it about water? :))

  8. I often think of water as a “total sensory experience” for Charlie that always is in flux, always is changing (the ocean, that is).

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