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.


  1. Wow, what a fantastic photo you captured. I love aquariums and always enter them with child like wonder too.

  2. ohhhh, how fantastic is that photo ?

    and the saddest thing about jelly fish....seeing them all washed up a beach. it breaks my heart every time.

  3. Oh my goodness...jelly fish are so beautiful. This photo is magical. I often think about all the crazy animals and sea life on our plant...martians for sure :)

    Happy belated birthday :)

  4. Young indeed...I think I would be awed by it too!

  5. such a beautiful combination of intimacy, intellect, and imagination, your posts brighten my day ~ fantastic photo :)

  6. This is beautiful. I have always found them utterly fascinating.

  7. truly magical! wow what an incredible photo.
    I hope your birthday was grand.

  8. stunning photograph - and your musings make me wonder sometimes if we're the jellyfish drifting on some random tide without purpose or taking the time to be aware of our own beauty. i like your thoughts so much better.

  9. I love the extraordinary beauty and meaning you are able to see in everything.

  10. First, my friend, happy belated birthday! I am feeling a bit spooked, as I was just thinking of you about an hour ago, realizing that I had a little time this afternoon to catch up with your blog. Then, when I sat down at my computer, there were your comments on my blog! How wonderful to be so connected, even across all this distance.

    I love how you and your mum celebrated your birthday, and I love your thoughts on jellyfish. I, too, would like to think that they have a kind of "consciousness" (for lack of a better word) that we just don't yet understand. Thanks for this beautiful, thoughtful post. xo Gigi

  11. An absolutely magical image!! They are truly magnificent creatures..aren't they??

  12. What a beautiful post! I love that you and your mother have a tradition of girl time for your birthday. How very special.
    I love your relationship with the jellyfish. I can't help but wonder if perhaps they are a bit more divine than us.
    Perhaps they are the perfect example of living? Living in the moment. Existing, living, breathing, being. No ego, no conscience, no negativity. They know the power of Now.
    Or perhaps they are magical, complex little beings and humans are too simple to understand.
    Boy do you have me thinking!

    Your words, your photos, both as beautiful as you. Thank you for sharing.

    p.s. Happy Birthday!!!!

  13. this post is full of magic. the best kind. :) that your mom & you have such a wonderful tradition, that you both allow yourselves to become children again, that the jellyfish is so incredibly gorgeous (and looks to be wearing a pirate hat to me! lol! and are there boy & girl jellyfish & how do they know? all kinds o questions pop up in my head!!) i am sorry i missed your birthday - it sounds like you had a fabulous time, though! happy, happy belated, and welcome to the next year of your life!!


  14. This is amazing! Happy belated birthday!

  15. Happy Belated Birthday Jaime! How wonderful to spend the weekend with your mom doing the 'girl' thing ~ love it. And what a cool place to visit.

    sigh... to still be in my 30's... oh you sweet young thing!

    Hope you are having a warm December friend!
    xo Catherine

  16. Oh, my goodness! I have never seen a more beautifully captured jellyfish. It looks like a delicate ballet dancer, pirouetting around the ocean (or aquarium, in this case).

    Happy belated birthday! Wishing you a year full of joy and wonder and magic.

  17. Happy belated birthday, we so seem to have our birthdays a few days apart.

  18. Fabulous photo Jaime! Loved the post as well.