The Science Of Perfect Diving
Imagine a vessel in the shape of a cylinder, wide or wider
than a man is tall, tall or taller
than a man would dream of falling. Taller. Taller. Taller.
Imagine filling this vessel with water. The purity
of the water is beyond your comprehension but,
apart from its purity, the water is only water. This
unobtrusiveness, this perfect stealth is a secret joy.
You do not expect to understand,
atom upon atom, drop upon drop.
You taste the water, conceal your disappointment.
Around the vessel is arranged a uniform source of heat.
Perhaps the cylinder is black and the heat is provided
by the sun. Around the source of heat, there is
perfect insulation. Doubtless, you have worked a lifetime
to construct this cylinder, tame this sun, form this cladding,
purify this inconceivable, perfect fluid.
Climb the ladder to the rim of the vessel. You
are naked, fully shaven, breathing
bottled air. The altitude is extreme.
The cylinder and its contents are heated. You
wait for equilibrium. No, you wait for a stationary state.
Water expands, overflowing the mouth
of the cylinder. Water
begins to boil, tepid in your hand--the altitude. You
expected this. You are patient.
The cylinder grows warmer, still
warmer and there is more steam. You wait
for six hundred forty-seven and three-tenths Kelvin, and you
remove the heat. A sheet of mist begins to form
across the brim of the cylinder. Inside
the cylinder, the atmosphere is perfectly transparent.
Far below, far, far below you is an
opalescent surface which is perfectly white and not
a surface at all. You picture your body passing smoothly through
the vapour, through this milky shroud, from clarity unto
perfect clarity, from a hard light to a dim, diffuse light and
you picture your body sinking and slowing until you float, suspended,
at perfect, Brownian rest. Far below you is the surface
of an ice you can only dream about.
You dive, knowing
there will be no splash.
Copyright John D Porter © 1997
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