Monday, October 27, 2003

If you love something, let it free...

Well the news is out, so I guess I can blog about it.

Last night was emotional - with Howard being so sick and everyone being so afraid for him there were many different feelings people were having. The many different feelings conflict, not complement, and it makes it hard sometimes to define how one feels about the whole thing.

Howard has been sad, devastated even, since his partner Mavis died in July. When we were here in July, looking for a home Duncan and I watched them swim together, happy. When I returned I saw a very different Dolphin, an alone dolphin. Harold obviously missed Mavis. I can relate to how that might feel.

But he hasn't been well since, and this weekend it got much worse. As I have come to know Howard, and spent several late night breaks with him, just me and him in the nighttime quiet of a super huge mall, I have grown fond of him, attached even, as selfish as that might be. I have marvelled at the absolute dedication of his four trainers, who have spent so much extra time with him trying to make him feel better, even to the point of sleeping beside him all night long when he was lonely. He is not just a dolphin, he is Howard. But Howard needs a friend. And it does seem wrong, at some level, to have him cooped up in a tank.

As I watched last night the huge effort of getting him into the smaller dolphin tank, the greatest emotions I felt were fear and sadness - that this was the end... that I was witnessing the pinnacle of a steady decline that could only end one way. I have wanted to feel hope but maybe I am being pessimistic so as not to fool myself. Regardless, if letting Howard go to another Zoo is what he needs to pull through this, then we need to let him go, and fast. But then again, that might not be what he wants either. A tank is a tank, is a tank...

When I was a kid, I remember playing far out in the ocean, on a clear summers day when the tide was so far out - swimming around in the water and all of a sudden there were dolphins... dolphins everywhere. They actually seemed excited to be swimming around with me rather then I them! I was captivated. It was magical. I was in love! Wild Dolphins like to share themselves with people. They are amazing and curious creatures. I also remember one Christmas on the ferry to the Mainland a bunch of Dolphins escorted our ship for a ways, jumping high out of the water beside us - higher then I have ever seen any captive Dolphin jump. As a child growing up on the coast I have witnessed and been touched by the spirits and hearts of these animals. It hasbecome part of who I have become.

Perhaps some spirits were never meant to be held captive. Us humans sometimes have a way of forgetting this.

On my Dare List, I had listed one of my future goals to be swimming with the Dolphins in the Bahamas, sort of a trip I had planned out in my mind a while back. But knowing what I know now, I will take that off my list - I have already swam with Dolphins, in a more touching and sweet experience then one could ever have in an artificial environment. Nothing could ever top this memory, and I would rather not be party to the prolonged captivity of a creature who needs to live life free.

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