the dolphin progression

there was a progression. i was going to be an artist when i grew up. then i was introduced to the ocean… myself the artist drew a lot about the ocean. i ended up a biologist, who dabbles in scientific illustration. i think at some point i was planning on training dolphins. then along the way i realized what i really wanted to do was not to teach them, but learn from them.

3-23-98 from my seamester journal:

“i thought a lot today about growing up. what do I want to be? for so long I’ve been so decided and so certain, and now I just don’t know. I don’t know at all. this sailing thing has me all in a tizzy, and I just don’t know what to think anymore. it’s like, I love biology, I love whales and dolphins, it would make sense to do research, and I’m sure I would love that, too. but out here, I get to actually see these whales, some days, and not others, and there’s something about this whole thing that’s so fulfilling. if only I knew what it was. growing up is so complicated.”

8-17-99 while a deckhand on the a.j. meerwald, about sighting a group of 20 or so dolphins:

“i felt them right there, maybe because it’s been so long since we’ve seen them; maybe because I wish I was one of them; maybe because part of me wants to jump right into studying them; or maybe because sailing is where I’ll really get to see them being themselves. I hate it when I’m unable to be myself…”

{translation ~ right there ~ a location in the center of my chest }

11-22-99 in a letter, about a trip to coney island aquarium.

“i can’t help but think how sad they could be and we have no idea so we tell ourselves they’re happy but I can’t imagine dying in captivity. I have no problem with anyone else working as a dolphin trainer with captive whales, but I couldn’t stomach it. it’s funny, considering that’s what I came here wanting to do. I guess I’d just rather see them and study them in the wild, even if I don’t learn as much as I could by putting them in a bathtub.”

10-27-00 (almost exactly a decade ago!!!!!!!!!!) while on the harvey gamage as a deckhand:

“the best thing I have ever done was to be in the water with dolphins! this I did two days ago on transit from norfolk, va to beaufort, nc just south of cape hatteras.

“it is not necessary to swim with them, per se, nor actually touch them; but be surrounded by them and immersed in their watery world, with the option given to them whether or not to touch you.

“clinging to those chains and watching those animals glide and swerve and propel themselves out of the water from inches away- yes, it was the best thing I’ve ever done.”

“i’d rather learn from one bird how to sing

than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance”

~e.e. cummings

3 comments to the dolphin progression

  • This was an amazing post!!!!!! I loved seeing and reading your progression. So many good tidbits!! Good stuff. Funny how we are both going through old journals right now. I forgot that you had recently posted something from an old journal. I am feeling so deliciously light after devouring my old journals (halfway through 2005 right now — in the thick of relationship problems with Ja! Lol), digesting them, and … well, releasing them :)) I did save some bits that I might want to read later, and I imagine someday I will probably rereading this fondness version of my old journals and condense it, too :))

  • liz

    agreed. captivity was not the same…. I still have those pics of the spotted dolphins you sent me ;o)

  • Sandy Lipkin

    love the shots of you…. 🙂

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