Saturday, June 29, 2019

the humpbacks and us

Whale Story

Amy, our interpretive guide for the whales,
opens herself even more when I ask:
“How do we know that humpback whales are friendly?”
she tells of whales she’s known enough to identify,
each tail distinct,

ones about whom she has shared stories with other guides and captains,
so that individuals have been known, observed, followed in stories,
these whales don’t just chance to stay by whale-watching boats
to breech and dive right next to us,
if something did not connect for them with a boat,
they’d just dive and swim far away,
they remember what they want to avoid,
like fishing boats, like the local ferry,

Amy has looked into their eyes,
loved them without condition, 
applied the behavioral psychology she studied in college
to her experiences with them and dared to infer what’s going on,
as a mother herself she spoke of needing a short break from her kids
and described a humpback mother 
leaving her young by Amy’s whale-watching boat,
to cavort for the humans 
while she dealt with the business of diving deep and eating,
she shares a story of a recent whale season
when she had to stay off the boat for four days,
during those days whales came into the harbor 
near where she lives, in the middle of the night,
she heard their noises though she couldn’t see them,
she sat out by the water on a rock in her night clothes,
humpback whale print flannel pajama pants and shark slippers,
and imagined they missed her and came to check,
she knows it could have been coincidence,
that they came each night while she wasn’t on the tours,
and stopped as soon as she went back on the boat,

I prefer the story that she and they are connected,
for this is the story she’d like to live,
that’s the reality I choose, too.

by Henry H. Walker
June 22, ‘19

Amy Tudor, the guide referred to above, gave me permission to share this primary source.  I include just what she sent me about it:

This is a link to a video I took that late dark night on the rocks.  You will need to have a quiet space to listen to the video.  The sounds of breaths and puffs are the whales  

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thank you Henry for sharing my passion and stories!