All Creatures Great and Small

All Creatures Great and Small

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About to head out on my SUP board to look for our manatee friend

Gusts were bringing in the cold front and chilly temperatures  as I stood barefoot on my SUP board. What am I doing out here? They can’t find a facility to take the animal so why paddle out? Why look? Immediately my heart poured forth a chorus of reasons: We need to document locations; I want this creature to know humans care; I don’t want it to suffer alone; it doesn’t matter that the rehab facility doesn’t want to receive a sick animal today….

A very large manatee at Homosassa Springs State Park.
A very large manatee at Homosassa Springs State Park.

On and on I slowly paddled, scanning the river from one side to the other….looking for a small nose at the surface, the shadow of a manatee, the tail-print of a swimming manatee…so in hope of finding this small one alive still, surviving in a 58 degree river, a river far too cold to dwell if you are a manatee that should be in the Florida springs.

As I moved silently through the water I contemplated the inner push to be here with heavy clouds hanging close and a 52 degree air temperature with 22 mph gusts of wind. Why does my heart call me so?

I took this image yesterday afternoon after jumping into a river neighbor's canoe and drifting near the manatee
I took this image yesterday afternoon after jumping into a river neighbor’s canoe and drifting near the manatee
Another image of our lost manatee friend...
Another image of our lost manatee friend…

They’re precious…they’re endangered….they are innocents….they are gentle….they are my brothers and sisters.

Self-portrait of my leg and fin as a young manatee plays with my drysuit in a Florida spring
Self-portrait of my leg and fin as a young manatee plays with my drysuit in a Florida spring

Human-generated interference has caused this gentle species to become endangered. Maybe 5000 are left on the planet….over 800 lost last year alone. One fifth of the population wiped out by red-tide, an overgrowth of algae caused by human-generated pollution. Boat strikes…local fishermen in Crystal River calling them speed bumps, a cruel name assigned to them because the boaters don’t want to use idle speed in King’s Bay, a haven for wintering manatees….and the tears flowed.

I cannot change the fact that humans have created a real mess on the planet, especially in regards to water pollution, over-fishing, creating environments no longer capable of supporting healthy marine life. The past is done and there’s not magic wand to undo it.

Portrait of a friend and a human friend.
Portrait of a friend and a human friend.

But we can care now.

I stopped at a dock and chatted with a river elder who had seen the small manatee yesterday. I gave him the hotline number and asked him to call if he or his wife spotted our friend. Maybe a Christmas miracle will happen and the stars will align and rescue can be made before pneumonia kills this friend…this little brother or sister.

Mother and large calf....
Mother and large calf….

A few hours later…….

The faces of love....
The faces of love….

I sit in my car in front of the Piggly Wiggly, tears streaming down my face, watching cars head south toward the beach. Gray clouds hang close, the wind picks up flags of yellow, red, blue and green and makes them tug against tethers. The flags remind me of the tugging of my heart to stay open…to care. I reflect back to the cashier who yelled, ‘Merry Christmas!’…the alcohol-hazed man wandering in the aisles…the helpful clerk who directed me to the pesto…the child cashing in pennies….the grandfather who bragged on his cute granddaughter…the classmates I haven’t seen in over 30 years…the smartly dressed…the ragged….the lost and sick manatee….the pelican fishing upriver…the red fish…the great blue heron…we all come from cosmic Source…we are Love…we are Light. We are One.

SimoneLipscombA friend once told me that there is a price that comes with having an open heart:  We feel.

A manatee kissing a human...
A manatee kissing a human…

To all my brothers and sisters….creatures great and small….may this time of light and love open our hearts to each other so that we may know connection….to you, to Source, to our own hearts.

A manatee holding a human's hand....
A manatee holding a human’s hand….

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