This photograph to the left immediately communicates to me the open mouth of a Baleen whale. Whales are the largest mammal on the planet, and the Baleen whales live off krill, one of the tiniest ocean dwellers. When I think of the irony of that, I register the equal significance of the great and the small, and the need for both. There is something incredibly humble about the master mammal living off "the small."
Why do we need whales, you might ask. Would we miss them if they were gone? Since most people rarely see them, how would that loss register? You might as well ask me how we would do without air, which we likewise don't see. Whales are ancient (I mean REALLY ancient) beings who carry an intelligence beyond what we imagine or comprehend. We know they are smart but somehow to Westerners, smart seems to usually correlete with producing things, so the true contribution of the whale is anything but obvious.
There was a time when they were a highly sought resource for oil for lamps, baleen for corsets and ambergris for perfume fixative. Currently, there are cultures wanting whale meat as a food source. Because, human nature being what it is, we do not want to consider a resource we are exploiting to be equal to us in intelligence and in the evolutionary role on the planet. Just as in cases of slavery, the enslaved ones, or the ones targeted for our use, must be seen as inferior. Whales can't be that smart, or they would not let themselves be caught, goes one argument. Maybe survival of its body isn't the whale's top value. Maybe it knows there is something much bigger at stake.
I would like to offer a whole other view, and if you have ever looked in the eye of a whale and seen who is looking back at you, this view will not seem far fetched. I think whales are the primary stewards of our earth. They are the record keepers of much of her history, and they know she is a Being that can only thrive when all the elements that are part of her are in balance. Whales are "doing" so much more than we have any idea of. When the masses come to understand the role they play, it will break many hearts that we did not know who they were sooner. But no matter. The past is the past. We have NOW. Whales are still here. I have a request to make of each of you. Find a picture of the eye of a whale, and gaze into it, without an agenda, for as long as you can. Don't think. Just notice what happens in you as you do this. I would love to hear from you about this particular blog. I honestly feel whales are completely integral to life on this planet. The sooner a much higher percentage of people recognize this piece, the better. Time is of the essence. And thank you for reading this to the end.