Live Music, while we can

I remember standing by the railing of the boat, binoculars flush against my Coke-bottom glasses, scanning the horizon probably much like the whalers of long ago. Not that whalers are a thing of the past, no. But now, instead of hunting with their eyes, they use high-tech gadgets to destroy the hottest blood of all...

But, back to being in 9th grade. The whale watch was the highlight of a weeklong field trip spent on Cape Cod doing the ecology chapter in Biology. The Johnson's (he the bio teacher and she the swim teacher) taught me a great deal more than biology and swimming and I can only hope that I can pass on a portion of what they gave me. Mr. Johnson told us to scan the horizon looking for the exhaled spray of the whale against the blue of the sky.

I remember that I thought I say what he was describing. I remember almost calling out that I saw it. And I remember thinking... believing... that I was wrong. I wouldn't have been able to do something like that. My grades weren't good enough, I wasn't smart enough, I wasn't pretty enough, I wasn't normal enough, I wasn't tall enough.... All the junior high insecurities, and then some, so certainly there was no way I could be the one on the boat to first spot the whales.

And as I stood there, not believing what I know I saw, over the speaker, the captain announces that a whale was spotted. Exactly where I saw it. Eventually, I worked my way out of the insecurities. Maybe it was the magic of the whales... maybe it was just the passing of time.

But the wonder of the whales has never passed. Standing on that boat, I decided that I wanted to be a marine biologist learning about whales. Fast forward a few years to freshman biology class in college where I discovered that the competitiveness of pre-med students made a really nasty atmosphere in lecture and lab. Psychology became my major though I reeled for months, off balance from changing a direction that I'd held for so long.

And I do love psychology. I love counseling.

And I still love whales.

So, scanning through a magazine article about how wild animals can benefit our lives, I caught the listing of a website about whalesong. According to the article, listening to whalesong reduces tension and helps people relax.

I just know that whalesong fascinates and mesmerizes me. For me, listening to whalesong is like floating in complete comfort and safety in the middle of the vast endless ocean the whales call home. Tranquil, blue and beautiful.

The Whalesong Project is probably going to be my "always on" site. At least between November and June. The Project drops a underwater microphone off the coast of Maui and through the marvels of high-tech, the internet brings the song of the whales to my computer.
If the whales are near enough and if they decide to sing, that is. Live whalesong, if the whales will oblige.

I've had it open as I've been writing this (which might explain any choppiness of this entry... I find that I keep getting lost in the song instead of writing). When I first openned it, I couldn't hear any whales. Figuring something was wrong, I looked again at the website and saw that it was live feed, not recorded songs (though archived songs are available... Guess what I'll be doing from June to November?) And that's when a whale started to sing. It started so faint, like that exhalation of so long ago, that I wasn't sure I was hearing anything.

And then I knew.

1 comment:

DeanB said...

I went whale watching twice, first probably about 14 years ago and then 3 or 4 years ago. The first time was in April when the whales had just come up to New England waters. We saw lots of humpbacks jumping out of the water -- a spectacular show. The second time we saw very few whales, and none so close, and none much out of the water, but two were right whales and the naturalist on board was very excited about them. Anyone else out there who hasn't been whale watching, do it if you get a chance! Remind me to send you a postcard with the whale's tail I carved after that first trip.