Ocean Bestiary

Tag: behavior

Love Nest

He was in love.

She was coming to dinner tonight. He had rehearsed many times his proposal, a promise of love and a shared life. She arrived late: A wave of perfume capable of melting his heart.

They spoke of everything and nothing to break the ice during dinner. Afterwards, with a full belly, they moved into the serious business of love. He looked into her blue-violet eyes and felt his courage disappear. She was so beautiful, and he had so little.

In a whisper, he spoke his proposal:

“I don’t have much. But what is mine is yours. Stay here with me. Have our children. I will love you forever”

She listened to the same promises others have made before. When in love, they always say the same, she thought.  But this one was sincere.

“Yes”- she said-“I will love you forever. We’ll have children. But I don’t want to spend my days living inside the rectum of a sea cucumber. We should move to the new high rise condos at the reef crest.”

So he learned the hard way that the male proposes, and the female disposes the fancy headquarters where the proposal is consummated.

The newlyweds left the safety of the humble sea cucumber’s ass, and swam all the way to the promised luxury.

The pearlfishes never saw the moray eel ambushing their progress until it was too late to escape.

Pearlfish hiding in a sea cucumber. Iridescent oil pastels. Credit: Sarah Frias-torres

Pearlfish hiding in a sea cucumber. Iridescent oil pastels. Credit: Sarah Frias-Torres

Home

Salty. No boundaries. No empty echoes bouncing into her lower jaw, but the complex image of the seafloor only her sophisticated echolocation can provide. Seeing with her voice, her birthright, denied to her in prison.

So many years performing circus tricks just to get a bunch of disgusting dead fish: up into the air, through the hoop, forward, backward. The endless laps she swam in that fish pond, trying to bring peace to her restless body. Dozing on and off from the drugs she was given by her trainers. The anguish, the torture, the solitude.

And one day, humans different from the ones who captured her as a baby, took her to cooler and cleaner waters. A bay up North, with a delicate barrier separating her from the Big Blue.

She has been listening to the songs of her long lost family. And what sweet voices they are! She sings them her name, as taught by her mother. And they reply: “Come to us, we are waiting for you”.

Now, the sea pen is open. The boundless ocean awaits.

Today, she is going home.

 

Author’s note: I dedicate this fable to all the captive orcas and dolphins worldwide. May humanity understand one day the atrocity of incarcerating these highly intelligent and social animals. Then, I hope we use science-based protocols to rehabilitate them back into the wild ocean.

Closeup orca (Orcinus orca). Iridescent oil pastels on paper. Credit: Sarah Frias-Torres

Closeup orca (Orcinus orca). Iridescent oil pastels on paper. Credit: Sarah Frias-Torres