Ely and I were sitting in this very spot when we came up with the name Ocean Ki Bistrong just a little over ten years ago. We didn’t think twice about another name from that point forward. For years, Ocean was frightened of the water. We decided to take him to swimming lessons; he was terrified. It only lasted a couple of days. Fast forward a few years later; we tried lessons again. He cried and pleaded and that was that. . .panic had already begun to set in and I was like, “Duuuuuude, with a name like Ocean, you’re going to make your mom and I look real bad if you don’t start liking the water fast and sail off into the night to become a famous Oceanographer.”
We first met Boris in first grade. He was Mr. Bogart’s class turtle. A Russian Tortoise. In second grade, Ocean often went to visit him after school. He loved Boris. Over Thanksgiving break, Mr. Bogart allowed Ocean to bring Boris home for the holidays. I was furious. We had too many things going on and didn’t need to be worrying about taking care of some old Russian Turtle. Before I knew it, Boris was staying with us over Christmas break. I was even more furious. Towards the end of the year, Ely and Ocean began taunting me about bringing Boris home for the summer. “Absolutely not!!!” I lamented. Did they listen? No. Boris came home with us that summer and has stayed with us every school break and summer since.
Ocean’s ten now and he can spend hours down on the shore, playing in the sand, wading in the crashing waves, and even beginning to dabble in surfing. He takes his time with everything: riding a bike, rollerblading, frisbee, homework, etc. He moves at his own speed. “They all have their own time” Ely had repeated to me in the early days. Ocean’s patience and the speed at which he navigates through his world is very foreign to me. He’s calculated and never puts more energy into anything than what is exactly needed. I can only compare it to the speed at which I navigated the world at his age. I was the second youngest of seven children, fearless, and blew through things like a ball of atomic energy!
A month and half ago, Ely and Ocean came home one afternoon with a baby Russian Tortoise. We named him Rocko! He’s Rocko the Russian. Although part of me wanted to be upset, ( I don’t know why, because we had a thousand and one pets as kids and I was the one child out of seven who always took care of them ) but, I was actually excited, but not nearly as excited as Ocean. Here we are a month and half later and Rocko has brought us nothing but joy and has taught us so many lessons already. Like Ocean, he moves slow and calculated, but focused and driven, yet, this may be hard to recognize at first. To really get to know him and enjoy him, he requires that you slow down enough to be able to tune in to his world, observe, and see what he sees; feel what he enjoys. He’s a perfect Buddha by nature and just being around him we’re all the more wiser. But more importantly, he loves the beach. Here he is at the end of the day.