Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Right Whales Mating Off Cape Cod

It has been in the news and everyone is driving down to the Cape (the “other” cape) to see if they can get a glimpse. It is exciting news for whale lovers. Right whales, one of the most endangered species on the planet, are gathering off Cape Cod to mate. At last report approximately 70 of them were in the area. This is especially exciting because 70 whales constitutes about one-fifth of the world's population of right whales. And they are mating. Let's wish them luck at that!

Reports are that people are driving from all over New England, armed with binoculars and digital cameras, in hopes of spotting the 40 ton creatures. It is encouraging, at least, to know how many people know about this and are excited and thrilled to know what is going on. There is hope, spring is in the air and out at sea these great creatures may be procreating.

On Sunday I spent some time out on the back shore watching the waves roll in the fog banks moving back and forth. The two stone towers out on Thacher's Island kept appearing and disappearing in and out of the fog. I have lived here now for fourteen years and I never get tired of being out on the back shore with the waves and the gulls and the fog when it is there. I think about the whales all the time. I used to go on whale watches whenever I could find an excuse to do so but in the past few years I've cut back on that. Somehow I don't want to be part of the hoards of people who plunk down their money to ride out there and watch the whales. I understand why they do it and I don't begrudge them that right. It is good for the local economy. Maybe I just don't need that experience any more.

I'm getting older. Sixty isn't that far off and these days time seems incredibly precious. No matter how much I get done there is still so much more I want to do. Every Friday I have this incredible list of things I am going to accomplish over the weekend but I am lucky if I get a fraction of that done. It's not that I am not productive, it is just that there is so much I want to achieve, not really for entertainment or even reward, but just because I have all these ideas --- stories I want to tell, designs I want to create and record, projects I want to complete --- and I think it is taking me much longer these days to accomplish anything. For awhile I thought I was slowing down as I get older but lately I realize it is more because I have become much more exacting, taking greater pains with what I do.

The publication of my e-book and its subsequent success has been encouraging. Sales are still good and knowing that I can create something that others are willing to buy has been exciting. Plus the extra income has made it possible to look at a few more possibilities that I wouldn't have dreamed of before.

When I came back from my trek out the back shore on Sunday I spent the rest of the afternoon working on some knitwear designs and writing the patterns. I could her the foghorn off Eastern Point as I worked and it made me think about the whales. They continue to keep to their migratory schedule, mating along the way despite their dwindling numbers. I worry about the whales but I also worry about people and what we are becoming. The A&E program “Intervention” tempted me to write a blog about how we have turned the misery of others into entertainment. We have created a culture that is so alienated, so artificial, so exploitative that millions of us have become mired in addiction. We have created a culture where the cost of medical care is so exorbitant and insurance so inadequate in order to provide profit that those who most need help cannot get it. So, what is the solution? The families of the most addicted are only able to afford help for their loved one by exploiting them in the public arena for entertainment. People across the country can sit in their living rooms and play ain't-it-awful watching these programs much like Romans watching lions devouring Christians.

But then there are those who drive to Provincetown hopeful and excited that maybe the right whales will survive. They stand in the wet and the cold eager for just a glimpse, just flash of black along the horizon. It gives them hope.

We are strange people and lately time seems to be speeding up. I hope we all find the time to do what we need to do, whether it is write a book, conquer an addiction, or just see another whale.

Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

  1. I am in awe of how much you accomplish. But I know what you mean about feeling like there is so much more you want to do.


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