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The Phoenix Caribbean Connection

The following is a new column, showcasing writing and artwork by the students at The Phoenix School in Salem. This week, students have made creations from a recent trip to St. John. What better way to learn geography, science, writing and culture than to visit a place.

The Swim By Daniel Grade 8
Fear, excitement, worry, and adrenaline all surge through my veins as I leap into the tepid, salty waters of Reef Bay. Following our hike is a boat ride and even before being informed of it I knew I would have to swim. I cannot help but feel the worry even stronger as I hand over my life vest to a fellow student and observe the fierce waves that battered the shore.

As I claw my way through the salty water, I strain to see our boat, the Sadie Sea, and am quite surprised to find it closer than I imagined. With growing confidence, I calm down and chop quickly through the water with a near perfect crawl stroke. Only now do I notice the calm coolness of the ocean and gladly choose to embrace it rather than fight through it. My brain goes from panic to comfort in an instant. To my great satisfaction I see the boat bobbing nearly ten feet away and, almost reluctant to leave the water, I climb aboard.

A Story Untold By Jonah Levin Grade 7
I immerse my head in an underwater world where those who live within its grasp know all and all is mysterious to those who aspire to know what the meaning of it truly is. As soon as I do, I realize that I do not belong here. Sooner or later the sea will cast me out of this mystical land, which I will never call home even though I am equipped to breathe on the surface for a short amount of time. This does not frustrate me. It just strengthens my love.

I decide to take it all in, and, for just a moment, I am one with the sea. I watch the coral and imagine the little polyps broadcasting their messages to every coral in the sea. Love, war, food arguments, economic issues, who the best reef guests and makers are, and whether the parrotfish and sea stars are worse than last year. Nobody knows but the coral. I can hear the fish calling to me and to each other, trying to find mates and ward off the primordial monsters of the deep. Sometimes they will insult death and slap danger in the face and the predators must go hungry. Other times the predator succeeds in its endless quest to survive and the fish loses the one thing it cannot afford to lose.

The sea holds no good and evil, only eat or be eaten. It is the universal rule of life. I can feel the sea trying to expel me from its depths and hiding what I have found. Is wrath is so great that it moves the very sea floor and its own inhabitants. I want to stay however so, for now, I fight the mightiest of the mighty. I can taste the salty sea. It is the water, which I must not drink. It is the vine from which I must not take the fruit, the feast that is poisoned. My body will suffer the consequences if I partake in this taboo liquid. The sea, however dangerous, is beautiful. It is like a rose bush yet infinitely more beautiful and more sinister. For a moment, I am part of it all.

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