Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Have the Martians Landed?
My thirty-sixth year on this planet has been placed in my internal filing system... nothing more than a memory now as I celebrate another birthday. And as my body gets older by the day, it's comforting to know that my sense of awe and wonder hasn't aged a day past childhood.
My mom comes to Victoria by train every year on the weekend closest to my birthday, and we share in a bit of girl time. This past weekend we unexpectedly found ourselves inside a new aquarium exhibit. We both left our adulthood at the door.
I couldn't take my eyes off the jellyfish! How could such a simple creature, with no brain or central nervous system look so exquisitely beautiful and complex? How does it know how to move through the water and eat and reproduce without a brain? How sad, to be so fluid and graceful in the water and not even have an awareness of what that feels like. No consciousness. Are they merely in the ocean just to become food for a bigger fish? Is that really their only purpose in life?
Maybe they do have a brain, or a way of perceiving themselves in space, but they are simply structured in a way that we don't understand yet. I would like to believe that. I'd like to think that they consider themselves the most graceful dancers in the sea, their long tendrils flowing like a summer dress, their translucent skin brilliantly illuminated by the faintest light source. That they can feel the gentle pulse of their movements through the currents, and sense their peaceful existence, even if it is brief.
I remember scuba diving a few years ago, when a tiny moon jelly appeared right in front of my mask. It was so still, and I became still as I watched it hover before me. I thought it was glowing with phosphorescent light and my eyes grew wide in astonishment until I realised it was just the light passing through it from another diver's flashlight. Nevertheless, there is something mysterious and beautiful about these simple creatures. I suppose they do have a deeper purpose... they have the magical ability to keep adult humans young inside...nourishing our intrigue for the natural world and its secrets.