Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dancing with the Jellyfish

"Nature...a source of renewal and perspective, a place to be made whole." Mimi Farrelly-Hansen

Walking on the shore, I find myself staring at transparent beauty. Beauty began to stare back at me – to cry out – to breathe and gasp – “Help me” “Save me” “I’m melting…melting”.

Breathing or melting? The sun drying out her ethereal body. Only a spark to be left at the center.

The core. The center. The soul. The outer withering away. Dried up and gone with the wind.

The jellyfish pled to be saved. She looked at me from that transparent soul. “Water of life, I need you.”

And so the dance began. Scooping her up with a sheet of broken plastic – garbage left in the sand. Scooping and tossing. Over and over again. The currents – the waves - would not cooperate. They would not carry her out to sea.

Watching the rhythm – landing her in the ocean – she began to swim. Her tentacles spreading and floating. Beautiful and deadly. They are her power and they are deadly. I nearly forgot they could harm me, so mesmerized by the beauty was I. Her power full and floating free. Could she escape to the open sea?

No. She was destined to arrive on the shore. I could not save her. Did she know and feel that I fought for her? Scooping and tossing again and again until I knew I could not save her.

And so I left her by a rock. A small pool of water keeping her moist. Life giving. Life sustaining. Maybe that small pool of water was enough to nourish her. Perhaps the tide changed and pulled her back to sea. Back to see the depths of the ocean.

Did she know I fought to save her? Was that enough? Did she know?

Will I let my power flow or will I tuck it under and shrivel up and blow away?

She was 85% water. The sun drying her out. The heat. The fire of day. Shriveling into sand. Beached upon the earth. Blown away by the wind. Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.

Perhaps the morning rain released her. Maybe her soul dropped into a new body. The joy of a dog. The laughter of a child. The brilliance of a woman.


photos by lucy 5.07.09

9 comments:

Karen said...

I'm feeling so sad for the jellyfish...but she had to know you were trying to help...thank you for trying to help.

We do what we can. We see someone on the shore, shrivelling in the sun, and we give them our love, our assistance. Sometimes we can save save them, sometimes not.

I've been the jellyfish shrivelling on the shore as well--and oh how grateful I am for those who stop and help.

It is enough.

Tess said...

By one of the universe's serendipitous connections, this morning I was reading the story behind one of the artworks in a book I'm currently getting some creative energy from - Altered Curiosities, by Jane Ann Wynn.

She tells of eating in a Japanese restaurant and her sadness at unexpectly being served fresh octopus in a salad: "Such a fresh kill, its rubbery wet skin seemed to glow and almost move. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and yet I felt as if I was the only witness to a murder scene that was laid out in front of me on the table."

She took a small piece of the flesh home with her. "In my mind, I thought I could save this tiny piece as evidence of a tragic event - a lovely creature ripped from its home in the sea."

She tells of its inevitable decay, ultimately to dust, and since then has used the octopus as one of the symbols she works with.

The lessons we can learn from your jellyfish and her octopus? Perhaps that life is ephemeral, precious and very beautiful.

BrettRam said...

Wonderful imagery and story of personification made more incandescent by it being non-fiction. I also like the question "breathing or melting?" Is it a living or a dying and can we know either to be absolutely true? I can SO relate to this feeling of helplessness in the arms of living. Like you, i quite like the beautiful story of rebirth in the end. Life is always so much kinder than the story we tell about it. This reminds me a poem i wrote more than 20 years ago called "Death of an Ice Cube." Here's a stanza...

Frozen
like a helpless ice cube
popped from its tray
dancing a slow dance of mourning
sliding on the floor

SUNRISE SISTER said...

I LOVE this post - thank you, thank you. I have not read any posts in a few days anywhere, nor written any. It was wonderful to come across this one. It made me wonder - "where have I been?"

xoxoxo

thymekeeper said...

Such depth and beauty you offer here...

lucy said...

karen--i, too, have been the jellyfish. it was so odd, but there was a moment on the beach where i really couldn't separate us from each other. was i trying to save her or myself? or were we saving each other?

tess--life is indeed ephemeral, precious and very beautiful. thank you for sharing the octopus story. it reminds me of a lunch i had with bill on valentine's day. i ordered a calamari risotto. when it was served there was a whole small octopus-looking presentation. i could not eat it. the owner/host took it away and brought it back to me without the little creature.

i'm kind of surprised i have not turned into a vegetarian...yet.

brett--if you've been writing poetry like "ice cube" for 20 years...what's holding you back now?!?!? talk about personification!!

SS--smiles from here! thank you!!! xoxoxo

thymekeeper--nice to see you :-)

kigen said...

Lucy, I saw your comment at abbeyofthearts, on the spirituality of the Hassidim, "we are IN god.” there is no separation. powerful stuff." I wonder if you've posted anything more on that?

Gabriella Moonlight said...

This post is so amazing...I have tried so many times to save so many lives in the same manner, from the birds, to turtles, to catapillars, right now the catpillars fall from the trees only to be walked on, run over, etc...each evening when I leave work I drive as carefully as I can so that they may find their way across the street....who knows...but I do know that she felt you helping her to live her life...that is the life that we all share...
thank you~*
G

lucy said...

hi kigen--i have not posted anything YET although your question prompted me to pull out my notes. unfortunately they are pretty sketchy so will require some focus to make sense for someone else. here are a couple of the thoughts i love:

"there is nothing in this world, but God. nothing to be liberated. we just need to see. God is everything. it's all about seeing."


gabriella -- it's so wonderful to have someone else connect with this. i can see the fuzzy little caterpillars as i read your words. wishing you a peaceful day!!