Sunday, March 18, 2012

Imaginary Landscapes that Are Real

I have always been drawn to sea creatures. More than one person has noted that I have written several times about whales, and also have a poem about dolphins. Fish have also been an interest of mine. I kept tropical fish, saltwater and fresh, for much of my life. Indeed, I would start a tank here but for the fact that there is nowhere to put one. The large windows in the house that are one of its main attractions mean that we don't have many free walls for bookshelves or tanks, and tanks must be nowhere near a window, which is a tough thing in this house.
So no tank. But I am as ever attracted to stories I see and hear about the sea and its creatures. Too bad I can't swim, so scubadiving is out.
Yesterday I heard two amazing stories of human seamammal encounters. The one that fascinated me most was the story of a photographer who was spending a lot of time underwater in a seal rookery shooting footage. The animals got used to him, and apparently began to regard him as just another oddly configured seal.
A particular female seal kept coming around, bringing him half-dead, terrified penguins as a gift. She became exasperated, hitting him over the head with the dead prey, because he didn't seem to know what to do with them. Finally, she tucked into the snack she brought him in front of him, as if to show him how it should be done.
For his part, he was more than amused. He said he fell in love with the animal, with all the symptoms of human love we are familiar with, longing to see the beloved, whom he described as beautiful and strong, silvery and graceful, above all other seals. He lost his appetite pining for her above the water.
It reminds me so much of a fairy tale in reverse. We have heard of selkies and the little mermaid, but here is a man, clearly recognized as male by an amorous unattached female seal, who has fallen in love with a creature of another order.
The seal finally had enough of his unresponsiveness and told him off with gutteral barks, right in his face. But another female seal picked up where she left off. Sounds like the scene in a single's bar.
This morning I saw a story about the upcoming show on Discovery Channel about Antartica, A Frozen Planet, with this description:“A lot of what we show you looks like magic, it is unearthly,” Berlowitz said. “People are excited by what comes out of people’s imagination, but if you can find things in the real world that look like they are from your imagination, but they are real, that is even more intoxicating.”
See the video here:


marly youmans said...

You know, there are those tower-like aquariums that are good for schooling fish. And I've seen some that sit on a table and look like a flat-screen t.v., as well as ones that are thin and hang on the wall.

Our big tank is now in my husband's office. Evidently the custodial staff likes to sit and watch the fish!

Robbi N. said...

I would love to have one of those that hang on the wall. No money right now, and then there are too many windows around that would cause algae to grow.
I would watch the fish too if I were the staff.