I was 49 when I saw my first whale. I’ve wanted to write about her ever since. I’ve lived in California most of my life, but I had to leave the country to meet her. I was sitting on the beach in Todos Santos. I remember wondering if I might get to see a whale that day, and moments later she was there, a large dark shape, a deep presence in the sea before me. Today I know the whales can swim close to the shore there because the land drops off, goes deep fast. But at the time I was afraid for her because she seemed too close to the shore. I worried she’d be grounded. I was thrilled to see her, though, and full of awe. And she was fine, knew what she was doing. She didn’t surface, but four years later I can still see her there, nosing about, not thirty feet away, her dark roundedness in the green murky water oh so appealing, the sense of our meeting immense inside me. Remembering her now makes me grateful for that day my first whale came to call.
[Photo by D. Weller at http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/feb2005/2005-02-17-03.asp]