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Magic

July 18, 2017

The chills run up and down my body. I want to shout so everyone can see what I’m experiencing. To share in the magic. But I’m not sure I want to say a word. I could keep it as my secret.

The air explodes up as they surface briefly only to dive down again, mouths open and then shutting; baleen sifting out whatever they don’t want to eat.

The exclamations of joy and excitement escape my lips. The people all around me are sharing their “look!” and “whales!” in a cacaphony of languages.

There are many of them. Spray from their spouts mist the air. Small dorsal fins and backs periodically sneak out of the water. A couple of tails flick out before gliding smoothly back in the water.

AbbesRoadwhales2-circled-sm

Photo by Abbe’s Road, July 16, 2017, in San Francisco

Oh, but they are glorious humpback whales feeding on krill under the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s picturesque, like out of a movie or a photo shoot. The sun is out, the fog has not appeared yet today. It’s a clear and beautiful day.

There’s no way for the average viewer to know how many whales there are or how large they are. They give us only a peak at their size. They are teasing us with bits of their monstrous bodies.

AbbesRoadwhales1_circled_sm

Photo by Abbe’s Road, July 16, 2017, in San Francisco

I could sit here all day. My cheap binoculars don’t help much, but I don’t care. I am grateful and lucky just to be near them.

The first time I heard humpback whales and knew they were nearby, I cried gently. I couldn’t tell you why. It just felt so beautiful and important to me that I was allowed to be close, to catch a glimpse, to listen to their songs.

I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on whale-watching boat trips. Never have I seen so many or for such a long amount of time as I did the other day, sitting by the shore so close to them but in different worlds. I wanted to sit there all day.

The alarm rang, interrupting my reverie. The pre-paid parking meter expired. It was time to go. You don’t want to test SF meter maids.

I was OK with leaving, silently thanking them for allowing me to watch them for a time.


Whales are magical, I whispered to my son one day when we were again talking about whales. We tend to do that.

Why? he pushed back.

Because they are. Magic has no explanation.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 18, 2017 17:42

    I love it. Felt like I was right there with you

    Liked by 1 person

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