“Fly with me, on the winds of time….Set yor Spirit free, and I’ll paint rainbows in your eyes, for all …ee…ter…nity.”-Neville Coleman
This poet had touched my heart and I had to meet him. So I wrote him a letter and we became penpals.
Soon after, on the 4th of July, I called Australia so he could hear the firework celebration that we Americans have. A few weeks after that , I flew to his home in Brisbane.
What a leprechun of a man he was. There was something magical about him.
Neville took me to the Rain Forest and we had a delightful picnic amidst this land of giant trees. I have a photo somewhere of me looking so small standing next to one of them. I was so grateful that this quiet, gentle man took time away from his love of diving to share a bit of his Australian world with me.
And yet, he may have been a bit dissappointed by some of my young American attitudes. (He was 20 years my senior) and when I departed, we lost touch.
Today I learned that Neville Coleman died last year on May 5th and as I googled his life, I was amazed at all that this kind man had achieved. I had no idea what a precious gem he was to the scientific underwater community.
“Neville Coleman has achieved excellence in many fields of self-taught expertise, including his career as an underwater explorer, naturalist and environmental photographer, photojournalist, educator, conservationist, philosopher, publisher and even as a poet, becoming to one of the most accomplished underwater natural history authors in the world. Recently (he was) awarded the Order of Australia Medal OAM- and in 2007 the naturalist Neville Coleman was inducted to the International Scuba Diving Hall Of Fame. He said on that occasion: “I realized that in the water it doesn’t matter what shaped peg you are……… round or square? UNDERWATER, everybody fits!” –from the obit of Neville Coleman
How I wish I had been more mindful back then..more present when I was with him.
Loner that he was, he shared with me a part of himself that very few had ever known…
and he could have taught me so much more about the meaning of life.–had I, the student been ready……
“Disguised it lies behind the eyes….. it’s there for all to find. The secret source within yourself…….your magic power mind.” -Neville Coleman