“Ohhhwwwnn! What do you want us to get you from the labally?”, the son’s voice wafts upstairs to his teenage sister. She cannot make it to the library and her little brother feels bad for her, like she has been denied candy on Halloween.
“Anything on Mermaids dobucles! From the Teen section.”
The son and I exchange knowing smiles.
I watch amusedly as the half teen swells with self importance: Oh! The glory of being given the esteemed task of picking out books for his teenaged sister from the teen section.
“Mermaids! Really? Again? Still?” I ask, and I get a “Yessss!” accompanied by an eye roll, that I cannot see but can imagine, in response as we head off.
The oceans and seas enthrall her, they exert an influence on her like no other. And it started young. Thousands of viewings of Finding Nemo, hundreds of The Little Mermaid later, her first choice for drawing anything is still marine.
I can hardly blame her, I find the oceans fascinating myself.
Gerald Durrell’s Enchanted World Essay
Carl Sagan’s Essay on his interactions with Elvar The Dolphin
Epic of Whalayana – Carl Sagan
I have been seeped in books on Whales of late. Ever since I read Carl Sagan’s beautiful notes on these gigantic, intelligent and curious creatures, I have become half mermaid myself. I see the allure that sets the daughter’s heart beating. Regular readers know that I have often described that child as one who should have been born a mermaid.
Astronomy and Paleontology are sibling fields really: they take human imagination to places where no person has ever been.
Some writers have the knack of saying the most profound things in passing.
It is true isn’t it? The reason we gaze longingly at the night skies, charting out the constellations, having myths that surround them is the same reason we have stories of oceanic splendor. The reason we listen in awe about Noah’s Ark, Mastya avatar, Kurma avatar and myths of a milk churning ocean coughing up ambrosia for things that seemed nigh impossible like immortality is the same reason we imagine The Great Big Hunter going after the seven sisters. It is magnificent and unimaginable.
“This must be something to do with the Sea. It has the word Tempest on it and there is a mermaid like thingy on the front. “, said the little fellow handing me the book he had picked out for his sister.
“Should we get one or two more just in case?”
We agreed and off we went looking for mermaid like ones, oceanic tales. I fell back upon Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea by Jules Verne in case all else failed. That was the choice that earned me a loving “MOM!” look.
We needn’t have worried, the little fellow was given glowing tributes for selecting the best mermaid book, and we all settled down to read that evening.
Taking a deep breath we dived deep into the rich oceans.
I was trying my best to keep up with Nick Pyenson and his colleagues as they tried to find and relocate some of the largest whale fossils on record. More than 2 million whales had been lost to Whaling in the beginning of the 20th century, and only about 200,000 remained. What have we done? Another silent lament in my mind that will not have an answer.
The son had a thoughtful crease after reading his book, A Symphony of Whales by Steve Schuch. I could well imagine his feeling. It is one of those books that in ten flips of the page leaves you wondering and marveling at so many things – the climatic conditions because of the geography of the story, the sounds of nature surrounding the little village, and the sounds of the living in the churning waters calling out to little Glashka who is a little girl blessed with the ability of hearing different frequency voices like the song of the whales stranded in the bay and iced in. Accompanied by illustrations that take you to the little Arctic village, this book was the perfect marine choice for the little fellow.
Little yawns appeared on our faces and we smiled sleepily. When we resurfaced from the waters, feeling refreshed after a cool dip in the oceans, we slept dreaming the dreams of the unimaginable. It was marvelous.
The sea is as near as we come to another world. – Ann Stevenson