Thursday, November 11, 2004

The only visitors I am delighted to see return to Maui each year are the humpback whales for they don't migrate here to take but to give. They give everyone in these islands so much joy, abundance and love that they are eagerly awaited by tourist and residents alike. The early-bird whales usually show up in mid October (the first one this year was spotted on Oct. 23rd), and then the main gang follow in November. The charter boat companies are probably the happiest to see them come for their livelihood depends upon the returning whales. No one, I would venture to guess (not even the President), can create as much pandemonium as the whales, and traffic jams are the norm when they are spotted from the shoreline. This year I will have a birds-eye view from my new eagle's aerie/master bedroom, and I plan to avidly search the horizon with my binoculars to ogle them. I really don't know why observing whales is such a thrill, but it is....even though I have seen these great beings blow,breach,tail slap, and fin wave for many years. The only reason I can fathom for the human fascination with every little movement of whales is that the whales are divine beings, and as such, I (and most humans) know this to be true. Who wouldn't want to miss one second observing divinity in motion? Our hearts know the truth.

In former years I was on a boat nearly everyday taking others to commune with the whales. Being a guide to the whales never grew old as I became enthralled watching the humans almost as much as I enjoyed watching the whales. Observing the 'inner child' of humans react to the presence of whales (and also dolphins) was a never-ending source of delight to me. One of my favorite memories on a whale-watching boat was this one: I saw a crusty old deckhand fall to his knees, clasp his hands in prayer pose and exalt, "Thank You, God!" after everyone on the boat had witnessed the most rare of events, a perfectly executed Triple Skyrocket (my terminology). The center whale blasted forth from the water perfectly straight, while the two whales on either side of the center whale gracefully arced outwards with precision that could only be divine choreography. Everyone onboard was stunned, moved to tears and other emotions because of this moment of Grace. Not one person managed to capture a photo or video this event. Later the sailor shared with me that all the years he had been working on boats that he had never seen such a display.

Thanks to the popularity of whale watching, the Hawai'i whale population is increasing at a rate of 6 to 8 percent a year. This is progress when one considers that not so very long ago, whaling was what brought most foreigners to this island.
This fact alone gives me hope that perhaps the human species is evolving and will learn to honor all creatures great and small. I need all the hope I can get these days considering the critical crossroads the human species has arrived at.
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