Tag: Humpback Whales

Lasting Treasure

Lasting Treasure

Some times I find myself working too hard to figure things out. That’s been the case with my feeling of stuck-ness that has lasted for five years. Sure I’ve written books, taken really nice photographs resulting from amazing travels, possibly even contributed to the awakening happening on our planet…but I’ve just not been able to find a steady rhythm of forward momentum. For an Aries, a trail-blazer, it’s almost unbearable. Shouldn’t I be doing SOMETHING more!?!?

I came across some guidance the other day that basically said I need time to withdraw and contemplate after the breakup of a relationship I thought was my happily-ever-after. (That break-up was over five years ago). It said to rest and grow strong, retreat from life. I was reminded of The Hermit, the archetype that withdraws and consolidates and visualizes the pattern of destiny, the Will of the Spirit.

It’s not a daily sadness or even missing him but a daily remembering of the good times when two people vow to share their lives. I’ve done the healing of grief and sadness but haven’t been able to move out of the stuck place. So in meditation I asked what I was missing in the situation, thus the guidance. How does one create a new vision of life when the path seemed so beautiful and clear with another person? Or job….or home….or child…or planet.

Then I thought, it’s not just ‘him.’ I planned on the the ocean and rivers and mountains and shores being healthy…dolphins, whales, sea turtles, manatees….I’m not just trying to find a way forward from a man I loved, I am trying to find footing on a planet that is in peril. What if everything I have taken for granted and loved deeply disappears? This is the big existential question looming and creating a major pause in my skipping along the merry path. It’s more than just a man…isn’t it always?

Thirty-two years ago I consciously stepped on to a spiritual path seeking truth and searching for meaning. There have been so many times along the way I wished I could forget what I had learned about myself, about the world around me and return to ignorant bliss; however, somewhere along the way I realized clearing out the old ‘yuck’ and healing old, unhealthy patterns of behavior was slowly allowing me to experience deeper joy, stronger peace that lasted longer with each step up the ladder. As my wholeness increased I became more aligned with work that held meaning and felt inspired by my heart.

Photograph Summer 2010…Shell Oil

When the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill occurred I was living in Asheville with my husband. That moment….April 20th, 2010…called me to service. It was my personal wake-up call/invitation to fully commit my time and resources to raising awareness of the beauty of nature and the brokenness that exists between humans and nature…and the importance of restoring the awareness of Oneness of all life. Oddly enough, that was the beginning of the end of my marriage….the unraveling had started but it was the deep call to service that ultimately pulled us apart…him to Iraq, me to coastal Alabama.

Photograph I took Summer 2010. It reminds me of a woman’s body and so I call it the Rape of Mother Earth

I reported the oil when it first washed ashore in the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge on the Gulf of Mexico. I sat there and wept as waves of chocolate-colored, benzene-smelling crude oil and dispersant made landfall on the sugar white beaches. My world fell apart. I couldn’t believe humans could do this to a planet. It’s one thing to see it reported on the news and quite another to smell it, feel it, and watch the destructiveness as it creeps along killing everything it its path.

Gulf State Park Summer 2010

I haven’t broken my relationship with nature but humans have, as a whole, broken the bond of Oneness, the realization that whatever we do to nature, we do to ourselves.

How does one move forward with the awareness of such brokenness?

Perhaps it begins by taking time to listen to the Path of Destiny, to form a new vision by taking a break. By asking what the Will of Spirit is preparing as I surrender more to my heart’s calling.

While cycling this morning a David Wilcox song (Deeper Still) came on my playlist and the lyrics really spoke to me, not just about my former beloved but about the path of service. Often these thoughts come…Have I wasted my time and resources? Am I on the right trajectory? What was I thinking? This song was my answer…. In this life the love you give becomes the only lasting treasure.”

In the tears you gave to me
I found a river to an ocean.
Concrete sky and a stone cold sea
Came to where the emptiness cracked open.

Then all my fears came crashing through
And met the fire of my sorrow.
But I found my strength in forgiving you.
I never even knew how far my heart could go.

I live my life beyond each death
From the deeper well of trust.
To know that when there’s nothing left
You will always have what you gave to love.

In this life the love you give
Becomes the only lasting treasure.
So that what you lose will be what you win.
A well that echoes down too deep to measure.

Every bit of love I have given along my path is my greatest treasure….a well too deep to measure.

Lightness of Being

Lightness of Being

Usually I share my own photographs and video as part of my work, my gift to the world. Lately I haven’t felt the words form, haven’t felt inspired to create. It’s been very heavy, bottom to top.

So today I found this video of a humpback calf playing with dolphins and it seemed to tell the story that I don’t feel inspired to tell now, but hope to soon.

I hope you enjoy the lightness of being. May the light of this calf and her friends shower all with beauty and peace….and hope.

Piano…A Whale of a Story

Piano…A Whale of a Story

Sometimes the story behind the scars is bigger than the whale, larger than life. Such is Piano’s life story.

Piano crossed my path this year while I was visiting the Silver Bank for an offshore humpback whale week. She was eight years old. When I photographed her frolicking with other humpbacks she appeared happy, like the other whales swimming within the protected area. There was one exception….Piano had severe scars along her back. Looking at them through the viewfinder of my camera and telephoto lens I winced, “How could she survive whatever caused THAT!

And the scars were not ‘only’ on her back. It appeared as if she had an entanglement scar on her fluke. It was difficult figuring out her story.

I captured several images including a fluke ID photo. Upon return I emailed the Center for Coastal Studies, sending the images along with the time and date observations were obtained.

Almost immediately I received a reply from Jooke Robbins, PhD, director of the Humpback Whale Studies Program giving a brief history of the whale and stating she was well known by the staff there. I did further digging and found out more information about this beautiful angel of the sea.

Piano was born in 2009. In 2011 she suffered a severe injury through a ship strike. Specifically the propeller sliced her back…or appeared to chew it. In July of 2012 she was severely entangled in fishing gear. When she was freed from that entanglement by the team, scars were noted from an even earlier, unwitnessed entanglement.  On a lighter note, she was the poster girl for Wild Chatham in 2010.

Whales that live in the Gulf of Maine and surrounding area have a much better chance of survival thanks to The Center for Coastal Studies.  Not only do they study whales, they have an amazing disentanglement team. Check out the short video below.




Piano touched me deeply. She fully embodies the energy of persistence and has survived even when faced with serious consequences of simply being a humpback whale in a world where human activity is increasingly dangerous.

Piano and her friend frolicking on the Silver Bank.

Join me in saying a little prayer for Piano, sending her love and include all whales in that prayer. And while you’re at it, say one for the humans, too. We need to awaken.

I offer an invitation to visit the Center for Coastal Studies web page to learn about their amazing work with many marine species. Join me in supporting them as a member. Visit their cool on-line store to purchase whale merch.

The summary of my week? More than ever I believe these whales to be highly aware, sentient beings with amazing intelligence and an important role to play in this Ocean planet’s story. I contend they are Angels of the Sea.

To read other stories about humpback whales check out the previous stories from this week on the Silver Bank.

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

The Video

Special thanks to Tom Conlin and Aquatic Adventures and the crew of the Turks & Caicos Explorer II.