Thursday, July 15, 2010

Watching a 50-ton Miracle

I've been in this fog where night is day and day is night, where one day melds into the next, where there's no concern about time or dates. It's also known as summer. It's not been great for writing, but gosh it's been fun.
Yesterday I took my children whale watching in Monterey Bay. Now, if you're like me you think, "Ugh. Whale watching. A scam with seasickness to boot."
Fortunately, my neighbor works at Monterey Bay Aquarium and hears the lowdown on all the stuff going on in the bay.The whales are back in town. Like they haven't been for the past seven years.
At first we saw water spraying in the air, like little bombs exploding beneath the water's surface. One after another after another. Those bombs were the whales. Our boat was surrounded by them.
We saw them dive down and flip their tails, National Geographic style. We saw them come up and open their long wide mouths. We saw them breach (jumping up into the water and landing). That last one still gives me shivers. According to the naturalist on board, a whale is born weighing about 1200 pounds, gains 100 pounds a day, and reaches a weight of about 1 ton per foot. The humpback whale grows to 40-50 feet. So we were watching about 100,000 pounds fly up from the water. 100,000 pounds.
I now have a new image to aid my writing. Each time I feel stuck and think how impossible it is to move forward, to come up with another line, another word, I will see that humpback propelling its massive 50-ton body into the air like a ballerina. Miracles happen.
Books of the Month:
Chasing Windmills by Catherine Ryan Hyde: The story seems simple, at first--boy meets girl on subway, they fall in love and will march off into the sunset...or the crowded streets of New York. But then both the characters have lots and lots of emotional and physical baggage. One is sure that these two will never end up together. The ending is amazing and wonderful and a refreshing twist on happy-ever-afters, reminding us that life is not like the movies.
Into the Wild by Jan Krakauer: Oh, my God. These are the words that keep running through my head as I read of the true account of a young, intelligent, educated man who ditches everything--family, friends, full bank account, promising future--to live out the "ultimate adventure" living off the wilds of Alaska. While this young man's quest did not end in a happy ever after, he reminds us to live life to its fullest.


Becky Levine said...

Oh, man, if I didn't know I'd be too sick to watch the whole time, I'd SO do this. Incredible.

Jana McBurney-Lin said...

You're right--there is that aspect of it. My husband won't go either. I keep telling him there's dramamine...but he seems to think that might not do it.

Kate S. said...

Thank you for spreading the word that whales are real. I'm the naturalist from the boat, and if Dramamine is not enough, there's always the prescription Scopalamine patch and even an oral dose. Come on out and see these amazing animals that come to Monterey Bay every summer.

Jana McBurney-Lin said...

As per what seems to be your usual, you're full of good information. Thanks, Kate.

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