Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Running away...

 .....to the ocean is what I seem to be doing this year.

 Last September I went to the ocean in Cape Cod. In March I went to St. Maarten, this past May I went to Bimini, which is in the Bahamas so I could swim with dolphins in the wild.  I flipped and flopped weeks before making my decision. Could I really afford to take another trip? Was I just running away from life, from my problems, my pain and grief?

I went anyway. And had a wonderful time.

"What better place to run?" asked Peggy incredulously, "especially if you're looking for healing." Peggy lived in Arizona. She was about my age and a grandma too. We hit it off right from the start.
Immediately I felt better. I stopped scolding myself for indulging. Stopped chastising myself for "running away". Perhaps taking a break is a better way to look at this.
Why not just take some time to relax and drink in the power of the ocean, snorkel and swim with dolphins in the wild, and make new friends while I'm at it? Why not indeed? Life is meant to be lived, so why not enjoy it?

"Surreal," murmured Toni (another new friend) who was standing beside me on board the catamaran appropriately named DolphinQuest.
Surreal, I thought, liking the sound of that word as I gazed all around at endless blue; blue sea and blue sky; where only a thin line defined the horizon.
It was a strange feeling, as if there was no world beyond our boat. We were all alone here in this blending together of ocean and sky.
And then the dolphins appeared. Swimming, frolicking, rolling and tumbling, they seemed only to live for the spreading of joy. There were two of them, then four, then a dozen! Eagerly, I donned my snorkeling gear and one by one, we slid off the boat and smoothly entered the water. (please take a few seconds and click on the video - you certainly don't have to watch it all. It will give you an idea of the dolphin experience, as it was taken at the Wildquest retreat).

The ocean was a beautiful shade of turquoise, and oh so clear. I could see bright green seaweed waving its long fingers, tropical fish bursting with colour: yellow, purple, and orange. They were beautiful and yet looked like they belonged in a child's colouring book!  Even sand ripples that swept along the ocean floor were clearly visible, as were many shells, rocks and strange things I could not identify. 

The dolphins, of course were the stars of the show. And they performed well. Two of them swam right under my belly! I could have reached out to touch them (but we are taught not to do that; they can approach us, but we should not touch them). Like children at play, they swam and splashed all around us, probably trying to figure out what these weird slow moving human-creatures were. There was no way we could keep up with them, so they lost interest and eventually swam away.

I made many friends on this week-long Retreat, met kindred spirits and felt nothing but support and encouragement on my path. I hope I was able to give as much as I received on this trip.

Early morning sunrise bathes the world a golden orange

Full moon in Bimini, May 17th. A full moon ceremony was part of this week's programme.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


A butterfly appeared one day a few weeks ago on Daughter's lawn, close to the foundation of their house.
The grandchildren wanted to care for her, so Mommy gently picked it up and put it in an old cardboard box. The grandchildren named her Annie. They put leaves and twigs inside the box to keep Annie comfortable.
Annie barely moved. We wondered if she was injured.

The children put ripe fruit in her box to tempt her appetite.
Mommy put sugar water in there as well.
Annie fluttered her wings gently, and hardly moved at all.

Mommy called around first to bird and animal rescue shelters (who could not help) and then the Insectarium. They were able to identify Annie. She was not a butterfly, but a moth. A hylophor cecropia - the biggest moth in North America.

I'd never seen one before. She really was big! The life cycle of the cecropia is only 7 - 10 days. The female lays around 300 eggs, then goes into a sort of dream-like state. The male continues on to fertilize as many as 3 females and then he too goes into a torpor. The adults do not eat (so much for the fruit, but it gave the children a sense of responsibility and they felt that they were taking good care of Annie).

We also learned by the size of her antennae that Annie was not a She - She was a He.
Five days later His life cycle ended.