Here in the Northern Hemisphere we just had the Summer Solstice. Whether it’s because the Summer has an association with the seaside in England, or because at solstice the Sun enters the watery sign of Cancer the crab, I tend to make a connection between this part of the solar high tide and the seas and oceans.
Coincidentally we got to watch some lovely programs on TV about the “Ocean Giants”, mainly about whales, but also about dolphins.
One scientist said that she thought that we might be able to actually understand what Dolphins were saying to us within about 5 years. The thought of opening up real dialogue with such an intelligent animal was wonderful. Moreover an animal that you felt was also curious about us. At several points it was suggested that dolphins might be as intelligent as us. We had to wonder though, how do we know that they aren’t more intelligent than us? Because they don’t have opposable thumbs and technology?
Apart from the sheer majesty, beauty and presence of these animals, and their inventiveness, curiosity and intelligent interrelationship, there were numerous stories that left you in a kind of awe:
Like the dolphins off the coast of Brazil that established a symbiotic relationship with local fishermen, signalling the approach of shoals of fish to the fishermen so they could benefit from the side effect of the netting process in making the fish easier for them to catch too. The dolphins herd the fish in and slap their tails on the water to mark the immediate approach of the shoal towards shore, and the fishermen throw their nets from the beach on cue. The dolphins get a trade off in unnetted fish that are easier to catch. Both dolphins and fishermen had taught their children about this mutually beneficial process for about a hundred years, and it is passed on from generation to generation.
Or the whales off the coast of Mexico that were hunted and grew mistrustful and aggressive towards humans for generations, such that they were termed “devil fish”, until one unexpectedly surfaced near a boatman and let him stroke it. Now these whales come to people who go out to them in boats to interact and be stroked, and bring their calves with them. The boatman was clearly deeply affected by his experience, and he was sure that it had embodied forgiveness towards him and the past. People will say that he was fantasizing and anthropomorphizing, but when we connect with emotional realities with other species, are we morphing them into us, or they morphing us into them, or are there those times when a real communion beyond our respective species forms is taking place? It actually seems counter-intuitive to me to think that this doesn’t ever happen.
And then there are the evolving songs of groups of male humpback whales which no scientist can verify a function for.
The most haunting image for me was of two enormous whales, suspended, tilting downwards, singing towards the depths.
Or as the narrator pointed out, humming more accurately.
May an intelligent and cosmic Nature sing to you through the Solstice.