Sargent | Two Octopi

It’s a little bit of a science lesson. My Octopus Teacher, an implicit Edenesque documentary, is set in a kelp forest full of vivid sounds and scenery, seaweed and sea anemones, in a place called Cape of Storms, West Africa. The word origin of Edenesque is from ‘Eden’, as the Garden of Eden in the Book of Genesis + the suffix ‘-esque’.

You might be on another planet. The wonders of watching an octopus’ life — from beginning to end — is getting out of our incredibly hard shells and journaling how the documentary illustrates Eden, and how God impressed our minds with more than one right way to think. I see the Garden of Eden coming through the swell, framing this special place like a lush landscape. This is where it gets interesting.

It’s quite stimulating for their huge intelligence. Adam was the first biologist given dominion over the beasts of the earth, as the marine biologist attested stewardship to one of the wildest, most scary places to swim on the planet.

He did not place us in a palace. God chose surroundings that were best suited for our health and happiness that only a thousand hours in nature can provide. Like God, the marine biologist went outdoors in the cool of the day to meet with his beloved, where he was greeted with some strange level of octopus joy every morning. God was his teacher; the ocean his schoolhouse.

This octopus walks. In the beginning of their garden experience, God was always protecting his people. For protection, the octopus wrapped itself in an extraordinary cloak of algae and a stack of seashells. The shark was completely outwitted.

Followed by an octopus. Somehow the sea animal recognized that this human was not dangerous. It takes an antisocial animal to a different level who can assess the capacity for harm as well as the capability for good. The level of fear between the marine biologist and the wild animal slowly dissolved.

Eden was free enough. There’s a line that can’t be crossed — free will. It’s like a forcefield. Many times the marine biologist wanted to rescue the octopus, but he realized that he would be interfering with the whole process of the forest. Instead, the shark just took her away into the misty forest.

They didn’t come back. The man’s heart was pained by the end result of a 365 day drama. Because the lifespan of an octopus is short, he couldn’t see his octopus friend anymore. Although he did not name the aquatic creature, the two were intimately acquainted, and a strong attachment united them, Like Eden, God could no longer meet face to face with Adam and Eve because their nature had become out of harmony with their Creator, and his presence was now a consuming fire. We still need the spiritual impact that only God can give, and the safest way is by reading the Bible. The Good News is: A greater than Adam is here.

All creation sighs. Eden was paradise lost. Will our oceans be next? In service to the brink of something extraordinary, Craig co-founded the Sea Change Project, a growing community of divers that is dedicated to the lifelong protection of the kelp forest. This high calling must feel like a sacred job, because these divers are like Cherubims guarding the Garden of Eden with flaming swords. I want to see what they saw.

Stacy Sweeney


Ocoee River, TN | July, 2019

Dear Barbara O’Neill,

Metamorphosis is a slow process.
This ends my 7th week of healthier living, or, “practice makes permanent,” and I look forward to seeing my body reactions after one year, five years and even 10 years.

I’m oblivious to the rearview mirrors. Yesterday, I had the energy to review my health lecture notes from the retreat. The lessons you taught on body physiology were indispensable. For example, I have compartmentalized every aspect of life. It was my error to think that oxygen and arterial blood gases were only vital to the respiratory system.

Everybody dive in. I have been going to the outdoor swimming pool once a week, and when I leave, I feel stronger, happier and more alive. I invested in a MOBI non-contact infrared thermometer that I use often. Agatha Thrash (Home Remedies) would say it’s “the prompt and beneficial effects of cold,” but you taught me that it could be the sun, and it could be the fresh air (more oxygen.) It could be all three! It could be all seven!

It’s a bit of a science lesson.
“The cold upgrades the brain because it’s getting this flood of chemicals every time you immerse in that cold water (9° C).
Your whole body comes alive, and then as your body adapts, it just becomes easier and easier and you start to crave the cold.”

// Craig Foster, Marine Biologist (My Octopus Teacher, documentary)

Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Blackberries are coming in harvest, and Pam Allen has given me her tried and true recipe for a wonderful berry-pineapple dessert with coconut cream.

Thinking of you
as I continue
to move toward the heart
of true healing
I have rivers to raft
and mountains to climb
at the Ocoee
this 4th of July

Stacy Sweeney