Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – By the Sea

The following was written by a dear friend, Yasmin. She graciously gave permission to share it on the blog:


The other day when very tired I agreed to go for a walk by the beach with one of my girlfriends. Sometimes getting back to nature is a very good tonic for a troubled heart and mind. It was one of those rare autumn days in Jeddah. No one out at all, it was shortly before 10. The water was calm with the slightest ripples on the surface. the color was a silvery shade of turquoise near the white sand beach and after about15 feet gently changed to a cobalt blue.

I had brought some bread with me to toss on the water and tried to convince my girlfriend to come with me. She was perfectly happy sitting under the palm trees and relaxing in the cool breeze. Some mornings are so still it is a shame to break the peace with words. I walked down to the water and felt like one of the only people on the planet. I’m so used to being with people it was different to be out there by myself.

I stood there with my slippers off and my toes in the sand at the water’s edge. There were little bits of shell, coral and stone decorating the beach and in the distance the sand-colored crabs were scrabbling not too far from their little powdery towers.

I have tried to see fish before without actually snorkeling because I’ve heard that on the reef there is still a variety of fish to be found. The water was so calm the first bits of bread danced on the surface. I watched them distractedly and tried to throw the next amounts of bread a little further out. I tried to empty my mind of everything but I wondered if throwing the bread was just making it wet. Just then I saw a flash and heard a plooping sound like a pebble had sunk into the water. This fish was about a foot long and there were three of them cruising together. They came in just 3 feet from me, long and rounded at the face with a light blue and silver color. Another one leaped and took a piece of bread out of the water but they didn’t come back for another pass. It was like they were just trying whatever came into range as they swam but had a schedule they had to keep. Subhan Allah.

Next, I almost missed some silver and black-striped fish. Except for the black stripes their scales were nearly transparent over the sand. These were about as long as my hand and they danced around underneath the bread as thought they were happy to celebrate this unexpected feast, they too disappeared too quickly under the glassy surface.

Just when I was throwing out the last pieces of bread my eye adjusted to some activity under the surface. It was the small anchovy-like fish which travel in groups of 8 to 10. I had a very good look at them and remember chuckling to myself that they are a little chubbier than the last time I saw them. It was almost a temptation to go in and try to run my finger down their sides but I only had two seconds to have this thought and they left.

I found myself in the water up to my calves, teetering on the edge of the shore. The water was an incredible temperature just barely cool and nearly body temperature. It felt as though my body was extended and I was part of the sea. My toes wiggled into the soft sand but my face was up in the breeze I felt very grateful to be able to stand in three elements simultaneously.

When I was out of bread and filled with the joy of seeing the little visitors I went back to check on my friend. I would have loved for her to have seen these fish with me but I was grateful I ventured on my own instead of staying behind.

I know that sometimes we see more when we have moments of peace and solitude and that we can be given small glimpses of beauty even when we don’t expect it.

Wishing for all of you some peace and calm and moments of hope and beauty.


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