Ocean waves are the breath of the sea
hen I was young my most significant and memorable times were at the beach house my family had in Cabo Frio. We went there almost every weekend, most summers and school vacations. I’m so grateful to have learned about the sea life and all its mysteries – it changed me and helped me to be who I am today.
Our young family used to leave early in the morning to new excursions. We often explored new beaches and at the time Cabo Frio was a pristine get away almost undiscovered by tourists. The blue seas and the white sands will be always vividly printed in my mind.
We would stay for hours and hours in the sun and water, eating camarão frito com limão or fried shrimp on the stick drenched in lime juice; and pastelzinhos de queijo or fried empanada with cheese delicious fried things locals would bring and sell to beach goers. Life was good, we were happy and didn’t know it. My favorite thing however was to stay in the water and catch the waves either body surfing of with a styrofoam board we called prancha.
I would stay so many hours in the water I just forgot to come back. I noticed everything about the ocean, the shape and colors of everything and the movement of the sea. I remember noticing how the waves would come and go. I used think and note a particular pattern the waves had. They would come at regular intervals and have a relative equal strength and then after a while there would be a huge one. Me and my friends even had a name for the big one, we all knew that after a while there would be a big wave and then the regular size waves would resume. Many years later in nursing school I would come across a phenomenon called tidal volume but unlike the movement of water it refers to the air we breathe. I can’t help but make a connection here.
Like the waves in the ocean, our lungs are constantly breathing in and out. A constant movement of air is occurring in and out of our airways whether we are aware or not. First inhaling rich oxygen which quickly transfer to our blood stream and than blowing out CO2 a byproduct of the O2 exchange. From your first breath out of the womb to your last one before you die this is the most important physiologic event there is. Our life basically is our breathing since we can’t stay for more than a few minutes without oxygen in our tissues and cells. However our lung’s ability to breathe air in and out is complex and divided and in several parts.
Our total lung capacity is 6 Liters. One Liter of air remains in the lungs at all times no matter how hard we exhale. Our total inspiration capacity is about 4 Liters and that is the normal scope of respiration. We regularly inhale and exhale 500 cc or air when not in exertion. Interestingly that is called tidal volume; the constant movement of our lungs when at rest. If you chart these tidal waves in a graphic it will form a design that is identical to ocean tidal waves. This constant movement of 500 cc of air is punctuated by one deep breath from time to time which fill our lungs with air up to 3 L. So it’s a bunch of small breaths punctuated by a deep and long one. This is the pattern of our normal respiration.
Comparing this two events might be a simple coincidence but I wonder about these coincidences. I think that in our universe all things are related, connected and are all expressions or manifestations of other things we can’t see. We are basically made of the same thing and all things in nature are fractals following the same rules and laws and we are just floating in them – sometimes we see a little crack in the seam and are able to peak into the universe in the making.
The whole earth breathes too