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  • Writer's pictureeschaden

Watching Jellyfish...

I did yoga on the dock yesterday. I meditated there as well. It was a beautiful day here in Alaska. Warm, sunny, and when you are in a place where it rains a lot, days like yesterday stand out. They feel special, because of their rarity. It was an amazing day.

When I was done with my practices, I decided to just sit there awhile, watch what floated or swam by: jellyfish mostly. I had thought about jumping off that dock for a moment when I got down there to do yoga, so glad I didn’t because there were literally hundreds of moon jellies and several lion jellies. I saw a giant one! Like the size of a hubcap from a car. He just appeared out of nowhere...then was gone.

I learned a few things watching the jellies yesterday:

They swim against the current. Well, at least they did yesterday. All of them, the ones that were smaller than the size of shirt button, and the ones that were saucer sized, and the lion jellies that were much bigger and more substantial. All of them swam against the current.

This seemed odd to me. Gelatinous creatures who swim against the tide. At first it was strange, but then I realized that when they swim with the current, they are so much more prone to being turned inside out. A couple of them got turned around and it looked awkward and unpleasant to have the water literally turn you inside out. They righted themselves quickly but their chosen path against the tide, seemed to make it easier to stay righted within themselves. Perhaps that is why I so often find myself swimming against the tide.

I also noticed that this made hunting easier, then can just be swimming and food comes to them...they need not chase it down, it comes to them as they are busy moving up stream.

As a life long swimmer against the tide, all of this was very comforting to me. Like the jellies were affirmation that my life, all the upstreaming I have done, made sense, even if it didn’t really in that particular moment.

I also love that the little ones, the very smallest ones have what appears to be markings, perfectly spaced and placed on their gumy bodies North, South, East and West. And it made me wonder whether or not they oriented themselves like a compass. I mean I could look it up, but I didn’t really want to know the answer. I was, instead, content to think, even for a moment, that these gluey pulsating creatures, had enough intelligence to be able to find themselves in space, orienting to East, or West or the like. I mean I know a lot of people that can’t do at all. In a city, not the vast ocean.

I like to think that those markings help it when it is young find ways to survive. That somehow being oriented to the markings on a compass help it survive.

I saw a few dead jellies as well which, of course, made me sad. But more than anything, I thought, “what killed them?” I mean I know they get eaten by other things, sea turtles mostly. But these dead ones weren’t eaten, they were just blobs in the water whose undulation had ceased.

I felt my life was really good watching the jellies. They passed by me without a care or concern. Doing their thing, while I did mine. A couple came close enough to touch, so I did. Gently touching their domes and feeling something solid where it looks like there would be a lack of substance. Even beings made completely of jelly, can hold their own.

The jellies didn’t seem to mind it much. They would just submerge themselves a little more. Away from my tapping finger. I better for the contact. A gentle reminder that life comes in so many varied forms, one no better than the other, just life, being lived until it isn’t.

I felt my blood pressure go down, not that it was high to begin with...I just sat entranced with the passing jellyfish, a passing witness to their living and struggle and wavering existence.

It is no different for me really. I swim upstream a lot. Seems to be my most often employed mode. Something about going counterclockwise, something about going against the grain. I need this. It is important to me. I do not ever want to fit into the groove of the masses, content to just swim downstream like everybody else. I appreciate the struggle, and it seems to be all I know and not likely to change at this point in my life. I could just go along to get along, but I don’t seem to have it in me, at least not for very long.

I lack the grace of jellyfish, my forward progress much more halting and disjointed, there are few smooth movements, just me, jolting and gyrating forward, again I repeat, I very much appreciate how easy the jellyfish make it seem. I know, first hand, that moving through life, upstream, not easy at all and doing it with grace much, much harder.

I also learned that time spent with creatures with no skeleton is time well spent, they with no hard parts, move through life, more flexible and able to take the odd finger poke from above with little upset or issue. I can see that I am not so suited. I tend to see every detour and universal finger in my path as something to rail against, to cause much ado.

Yesterday I got a new message for more graceful in life’s undulating forward progress. Mind not the pokes, and fingers in your path, just pull back into yourself, far enough away to ensure your own safety and survival and then begin again, pulsing through life, moving upstream, if you dare.

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