Today I started seeing fish. I don’t know if it was like the Magic Eye pictures where you suddenly “get” how to look at them, with your eyes slightly unfocussed, and as if by magic 3D images emerge from the mass of coloured dots.
Maybe the fish had been there all along, and I just hadn’t “got” how to look for them. But you would have thought, after around 400 days at sea, that I would know how to look for a fish. Or maybe not. I’m always learning new things out here.
Either way, today fish became visible – not as I had seen them occasionally over the last few weeks, flying above the waves, or doing a backflip out of the water, or even lying dead on my deck – but actually in their own element, the water. I saw 5 or 6 fish, fair-sized ones, maybe 3 feet or so in length.
Here’s my theory. Normally I am so close to the water that all I can see is the water’s surface, reflecting the sky. But you can see a lot more when your line of sight is closer to perpendicular to the surface of the water. If you’ve been stand-up paddling, you’ll know how much more you can see from a SUP board than you can when you are swimming, because you can look down into the water, through the reflections and into the water itself.
Today I didn’t miraculously gain six feet of elevation, but the ocean tilted itself enough in the form of waves to bring the surface almost perpendicular to my line of sight, like a wine waiter tilting a bottle to the optimal angle for viewing the label. So I was able to see the fish inside the waves. For the duration of the wave I could see the fish swimming below its surface, but as soon as the wave collapsed it would disappear again.
So who knows? Maybe it was today that I finally made it into fish-inhabited waters. Or maybe they had been there all the time and today’s conditions happened to be perfect for revealing the secrets of the ocean. Or alternatively I just found a new way of looking at the same scene. We will never know.
UncaDoug: good to hear about your increasing interest in ecovillages, intentional communities and transition towns. Last year I was doing some research of my own into such communities, staying at an intentional community in New Zealand (at the home of Chris Bone, of Oceanswatch.org) and visiting several transition towns in Britain. I agree that this would be an attractive model for the future, and I think it will become a growing trend. Smaller communities seem better able to engender a sense of responsibility towards others and towards the earth, while at the same time empowering the individual to have a real say in the running of the community. My feeling is that this sense of “village” is one of the good things from the past that we have lost in our headlong dash for progress – but it’s not too late to bring it back.
Jonathan – I love that Thoreau/Emerson quote too! Both very wise men, with much to say on the subject of simplicity.
Rosi Hey – thanks for your message. Glad you find the blog inspiring. Do you know of Greg Kolodziejzyk? See adventuresofgreg.com. He also lives in Calgary. I had a go in his pedalboat last year – very cool. And incidentally, he designed my Savage logo!
Stan, Bruce and Aimee – thank you for your input on the subjects of simplicity, life… and rocks. Aimee, your words reminded me of a random thought I had the other day: What if time isn’t linear? What if we humans only perceive it that way in order to make sense of things, because our brains are wired such that we can’t comprehend non-linear time?
What if time is like a sphere, or a Mobius strip, so it has no beginning, and no end?
Sound crazy? We used to think the Earth was flat, i.e. that it had a west, and an east, and beyond that you dropped off the edge. It would have sounded crazy to suggest that east and west meet up round the back, that I could set off west and reappear from the east. But maybe time is the same, if only we had the ability to comprehend it.
And I’m sure I’ve read somewhere that there may have been several “Big Bangs” – that the universe expands to a certain point, then contracts again into a single lump of matter, which then explodes again and the whole cycle starts over.
So maybe the universe always has been, and always will be. No beginning and no end, just endless cycles. What do you think? It would be pretty mind-blowing, but no more mind-blowing than anything else on the cosmic scale!
Bruce – your comments have been almost painfully thought-provoking, along the lines of “Ishmael”. You may be interested to know that your views have caused me some considerable time spent thinking, and some modifications to my philosophy-in-progress. I thank you.
Karen – thank you! I’ve been trying to remember Jill Bolte Taylor’s last name for a couple of weeks now, and you have finally put me out of my misery. I absolutely love her TED talk , and its description of the oneness of everything. I didn’t realise she has written a book – I have made a note of it and will seek it out when I am back on dry land.
Martha K – I think I have Daniel Pink’s book Drive on one of my iPods. I will look for it. One sentence by which to navigate my life? Wow, there’s a challenge? Have you figured out yours?
Quote for today: Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. (T S Eliot)
Photo: bow of Sedna, showing my logo as designed by Greg K of Calgary
Sponsored Miles: No names to thank today. Quite a number of miles not sponsored.