When Orcas Play

Some time ago I was taking the ferry to Victoria, and as we were passing through the Gulf Islands, the captain announced that we were about to join a large group of orcas.

Everyone rushed to the railings, both port and starboard, where we could see the whales rising silently from the deep, shining silently, a huge fin in the water here, a whale breaching there in a glitter of white foam.  The orcas swam with such effortless grace and surges of power that we were transformed.

Children were beside themselves with excitement.  They called to the whales, not in words for words are a second level of experience, but in upre, joyful song that the unperceptimve would call screaming. Those mighty, moving, mysterious beings touched the children, and the rest of us too, in some deep, hidden part of our being that is the source of joy.

We were amazed at the beauty and power of those whales.  Something in us rose high when they burst into sunlight, and dived deep when they sank beneath the water.  We felt intensely alive, and it was the orcas who were giving us this gift.  We held them in awe. We loved them.  We understood, if only for a few seconds, that we and the whales were linked together, and that we had been linked together for eons and eons.

After a short time the orcas went their way, and the ferry went its way.  We returned to our seats, our newspapers, our coffee, and our French fries. Our eyes were a little bright, though, and we talked to each other in a more open way than usual.

“Maybe we humans really are a living part of Nature,” I mused, “and maybe that economic stuff about us being isolated and hedonistic creatures who pursue our own self interest in the so-called market is absolutely wrong.”

“Maybe that sense of reaching out, of standing in awe, of feeling related to, is an expession of our truest self. Maybe those orcas are our older brothers and sisters, and maybe we have much to learn from them – before it’s too late.”

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