keep your eyes and heart open, you never know what you’ll see

taking off on the idea of communication without words by using words has a certain charm, just like having a secret channel on the oh so public net.

willingness… first i am honored to be included in a conversation with a couple of no doubt troublemakers ornery enough to challenge the capacities of the previous herd enough to be banned from that digital island.  without knowing any particulars sometimes it is not productive to try to describe colors to the colorblind.  it’s not their fault and time is short. will try and live up to the spirit animasoul implies and speak from the heart as we get to know each other.

the world of the possible… there have been times when i’ve been allowed to “see behind the curtain” (if we were in wizard of oz land), more precisely seen something beyond the levels of education and understanding that i had  been exposed to and absorbed. Raised in a science based family where direct observation and repeatability were the required cornerstones of the world view,  many times some of the more rigid precepts have crumbled in moments, and each time i was left feeling that i had been allowed, priviliged actually, to see the inner workings of an entirely different world.

an example… many years ago 5 of us were fishing about 125 miles offshore  in an antique wooden vessel built in 1927.  she was a classic hull but with that age came the necessity of having seven primed pumps running continuously in order to keep her afloat. Before we sailed i discovered that there was going to be a total eclipse visible from the area we were bound. Normally might have been able to use the dark glass in a welding helmet to look directly at it but this vessel did not have that equipment so put one of the small glass plates in my seabag.

If i remember correctly it was the time of full moon, the tides normally strong there, now ferocious with the moon,  the old girl did not have a lot of horsepower. The trawl gear tangled and snarled repeatedly, culminating in an hours long repair on the morning of the coming afternoon eclipse. I decided to have some fun with the young Portugese shipmate Junior who had been at the wheel when the disaster occurred, humor often helps to break the monotony of long or difficult trips, bad weathers etc.  i told him that because of his lack of attention earlier there was going to bring more bad luck later in the day. He was going to pay for it!

the time came and it began to darken. Junior had the wheel again so out of sight on the stern i checked progress with the glass seeing that initial bite out of the side of the sun, and proceeded to let him know his time was coming. Ever so slowly the early afternoon sky darkened. it seems to take forever, then finally that eerie almost darkness of totality with the purple ring of flames. He looked at the sky but could not see the sun, Finally i let on about the eclipse and gave him the welding glass.  Meanwhile i turned to look around and was imobilized at what was going on. Struck dumb then yelled for him to stop looking at the sun.

For as far as you could see in every direction giant blue tuna were leaping out of the water, dozens of them, twisting and turning. Then they were running at high speed along the surface and launching themselves toward the sky over and over. Shear exuberance.  Tail dancing to the perfect alignment. A celebration of absolute magnificance.  Pure joy !

All too soon it stopped, they disappeared.  all of them. Speechless, the joke was on me.  I was ashamed, making a poor attempt at demonstrating a little knowledge, when the larger truth was that this was the special time of celebrating a holy communion of Joy…

Were they concious? how could they be leaping repeatedly into the sky and not know what they doing? were they self aware?  self concious ? or is that a peculiar affliction of the hominids, putting actions into verbal thoughts, putting thoughts into sounds about actions, the difference between music and singing, and reading printed text about music.

a little lesson about what we think we know



7 Replies to “keep your eyes and heart open, you never know what you’ll see”

  1. Welcome Taylor and thank you for joining our experiment!
    That is an electrifying story. Literally, as we say in Hawaiʻi, a “chicken-skin” story that makes your hair stand on end. I think you were all absolutely crazy to have been in a old boat 125 miles from land! But how else were you to see such a thing?
    I love how you tell about the nitty-gritty of snarled lines because isn’t that how it is when you are outside in the world: one minute you have your head down trying to fix a broken fence or something and the next minute you’ll see something that is so beautiful you feel like your head is going to explode!

  2. Pleasure to meet you Tylor. Reading your post reminded me of eating cheese cake…lovely ideas with a delicious smooth texture I enjoyed rolling around in my mouth. You sound like a kindred spirit, someone that enjoys playing a good practical joke that doesn’t harm anyone.
    “Raised in a science based family where direct observation and repeatability were the required cornerstones of the world view.” How fortunate you were! I wasn’t raised in an educated family. Observations weren’t encouraged. Tradition and belief were principle guides. I struggled hard to become the first and only child in my family to get a college degree, and as far as I know one of only two people from my small home town to receive a PhD. I still recall the joy of education, especially learning science. It was like a long deep drink after walking across a dry and windy desert.
    I envy you the experience of witnessing giant blue tunas dancing under the solar eclipse. I can almost see it but not quite. I’ve never been out to sea, but I’ve lived near a beautiful lake, and several rivers. I’ve only visited the ocean once, but it was a powerful experience. I can only imagine what it must feel like to be on a boat in a stormy sea.
    I wonder if there is something ‘magical’ in a full eclipse…something that makes living creatures (even humans) feel “a holy communion of Joy”. After the recent solar eclipse I heard people who witnessed it say that there are no words to explain what they felt seeing it.
    Oh, and I wasn’t banned. I just elected not to stay where I wasn’t welcome.

    1. Hi Jody, likewise glad to meet a kindred spirit…
      We, this august group, speaking into the wind all, seem to come from different places, believe that to be a benefit as we try to find intersections of interest.
      The choice to go to sea commercial fishing started as a summer job after my third year of college. At the time i was in school in NYC. The freedom, the wide open space, the wide open future, was intoxicating, after all the bounty of the sea was limitless. Had spent time growing up in western Colorado in the early 50s, at the end of the dustbowl, big sky country. Didn’t go back to “formal” education for 35 years. It is the primary reason why i was entirely comfortable coming to this mostly desert cattle country down on South Point on Hawaii, the Big Island. The big sky, the everpresent wind, and often clear sky early morning stars all served to draw me here. It is as close to being at sea as i could get without moving up and down every six seconds, and getting wet every day. Added to that after working outdoors for 50+ years in northern New England and a couple times in Alaska it was great to land in a place where frostbite was not an issue for months each year.
      Surprisingly after learning the methods of science in school, ~grade 8, it was going to sea with old time fishermen that kept continuous daily logs (some in store bought notebooks, and some on the back of envelopes or any scrap of paper that could be found and kept in shoe boxes) that opened my eyes to the value of keeping records.

      One old skipper offered me his logbooks and it turned out to be a stack 4 feet high going back to the end of WWII. Where they were, how deep, what time, what date, what sea state, what they got for catch. They had mapped what lived where when, knew the offshore areas like the “back of their hands”. From Newfoundland to Cape Hatteras, 1500 miles along the east coast, the equivalent of halfway across the mainland. It was hunting, hunting at sea, now we call it “biogeography”. And to be successful you had to “know the fish”… you had to learn and understand their unspoken patterns to survive.

  3. So I am the odd one out, given the fact that I might very well go to my grave without playing a practical joke on anyone. Such is my sad fate…
    But you really get at something with your story of the blue tuna and the solar eclipse, something that I’ve been banging my head against pretty much my whole life, which is that the only spirituality I’ve ever experienced has been embodied in the natural world, in something which is right there in front of me, a leaf or a landscape or a giant tuna. Which by some definitions of the spiritual as different from the mundane means that I don’t have a spiritual bone in me.
    I do not get vertical, monotheistic spirituality at all. I can appreciate it in a religious studies way – as an expression of culture or as a philosophical construct – but I’ve never experienced the sacred except when looking at a leaf or a landscape. (Or when very drunk, which probably doesn’t count.)
    I guess I’m conflicted. On the one hand I am not “spiritual” at all, and yet I refuse to cede the territory. There is something there between the eclipse and the giant tuna, that doesn’t fit in any category that I know of. So I keep wanting to leave a space open for it, whatever it is.

    1. seems i was telling a story, talking around the thing, but not completing it. the “behind the curtain” analogy was meant to be in direct contrast to the scientific method of direct observation and repeatability. The once in so rare a time, once in a lifetime ?, Celebration of the tuna was not repeatable, so by definition not science, but a peek into a different part of existence. Spiritual ? well yes certainly but not in the traditionally meant organized religion sense of the word. In fact don’t consider myself religious certainly not a full believer of the christian mode, though i have been going for awhile to hear Woodley speak because he is quite open about his personal struggle, his quest for meaning, in this complicated world. It’s the first time i have anything to do with organized religion in 60 years save a few weddings and funerals. Being awake and in the present being able to see and feel the wonder of it all is more my approach, and yes sometimes a leaf with do it, or a colt kicking up his heels in the rain, but so rarely fully realized. We are our own worst enemies, brains full of constructs, spilling out all that has been packed in without much order or real understanding. Oh yeah and the necessity of earning and where we gotta be too often keeps us from even being fully present.

      I forgot to mention that the giant blue tunas are as big as full grown horses, as big around the girth, and longer. 1,000 1,200 1,500 pounds. And covered with an oil that reflects shiny all the colors of the rainbow, like gasoline drops on a puddle, while they are alive and then it’s gone.

      1. Taylor,
        I hope you don’t mind that I added this picture to your post. It doesn’t represent the beautiful experience you described but I thought perhaps the diver in the middle of the school of blue tuna felt something similar.

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