(Inspired by Susannah Conway‘s #augustbreak2019)
Human. What does that mean?
I think it means a lot more than just skin and bones, minds and development, socialization and communication. Because when you think of it, many other species have those characteristics too.
So what does “human” mean?
For me, it’s a feeling. A sense of being. A connectedness with all around. An indescribable kinship. And I’ve never felt more human than when I experienced the deep soul connections in both South Africa and the San Juan Islands, Washington. Not only were the people welcoming and sincere, but the environment, the animals, the air spoke with this intensely intoxicating coherency that understood you right down to the very essence of your soul. I felt human because I felt a deep, intuitive and intimate, primal connection with a place and beings whom I’d never met but knew I’d known for a long time. And also somehow would know for years to come. This connection, this sense of humanness is hard to describe in words. It’s a connection felt profoundly within the soul.
To be human is to be connected and feel connected, to every thing and every soul around you.
This photo was taken at the very moment the orcas answered my call while cruising through the San Juan Islands this past Monday.
We had been cruising all day since 8:15am, weaving this way and that, watching and searching. We saw many birds, including bald eagles, and came across a couple of playful humpback whales (Heather and her mysterious friend). But still no orcas.
The Southern Resident Orcas are finding less and less salmon in these waters, so they’re spending more time near the coast where food is more abundant. After hearing this, I was uncertain we’d see any.
But I remained hopeful and even “spoke” to them and promised that I’d stay up on deck the entire 4 hours it took to get back to Seattle – no matter how cold I got – if only they would give us a small glimpse of their world. A tiny peek was all I asked. I felt their spirits the entire time and knew they were out there. But seeing them would complete our pact, our spiritual agreement.
As the sun was setting, I called my family up to the deck to witness a Puget Sound sunset. One we’d never seen before and probably wouldn’t see again for a long time. Embracing the beauty in the moment, we watched as the sun began to set into the evening. And just as it was hovering above the horizon, they appeared.
The orcas. A family of Transient Pod 137.
Only could we see their beautiful dorsal fins gently rising as they took a breath then dove back down.. but what a sight! They disappeared as quickly as they arrived, but they had come. And that’s all that mattered.
I had kept my promise, and equally so, they kept theirs.
A quote from the movie, “The Whale” –
“Both humans and orcas have learned the same thing.. In solitude we are incomplete… Many scientists think that this kind of complex social life requires the most intricate intelligence of all. You have to be smart to get along… Maybe when we humans looked in Luna’s eyes, we saw something we recognized – the intent, the awareness, and the longing of a fully conscious life.
That bond we call friendship…that forms like mist..but holds like iron.
Like a couple of kids alone on a playground with no language but played anyway, because what we shared mattered.
All lives end but the best leave gifts. Millions of years had made Luna different from us, but he had come through that wall because of what we shared. He too had carried that need for others through the greatness of time because it was necessary, not optional. As Luna taught by just who he was, this thing we call friendship is bigger than we know.”