See The Orca

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The orca came to the end of my street today. Two pods! Or, at least that is what the excited onlookers claimed. There is an organization that follows the movements of the whales and they’d arrived with a sack of binoculars. People generously shared the binoculars and took great delight in pointing to others the location of the whales; the customary tides of not-talking-to-strangers were momentarily reversed: the crowd beckoned to passers-by. Unsuspecting dog walkers were surrounded by excited orca watchers; “You’ve got to see this!” they exclaimed.

As I stood there looking at the people look at the whales, I couldn’t help but wonder if the orca knew what they do to us. Do they know that a simple swim-by jolts us into simple presence; we not only see them but we are suddenly capable of seeing each other. I imagined the orca woke up this morning, stretched, had some coffee and discussed which human pod needed an intervention. It was our good fortune that today they chose the pods in and around Elliot Bay.

Last night at a dinner party we talked about how difficult it is for Americans to discuss complex topics. A professor of law told us that his conservative students never share their opinions for fear of being ridiculed. He said they are hooted out of class if they share an unpopular belief. We claim territory too soon. We fight. We choose sides and argue for our point of view, skipping over the part where we listen to each other, the part where we offer each other the grace of difference.

The orca must have heard our conversation last night. They must be listening to our political non-conversation. I hope they are scheming about how to reach the inland human pods. It is a joy to see what a little orca intervention can do.

2 Responses

  1. Beautiful.

  2. The line about not only seeing them but being suddenly capable of seeing each other caught my heart. I’ve been in Oregon numerous times when that happens…someone sees a whale and suddenly everyone is talking to everyone, helping point to the horizon, sharing their binoculars, marveling at the wonder. What if we all shared our ‘eyes’ and helped each other see the horizon a little more often? Love to you David. So much love. 🙂

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