Gulf of Mexico, Florida – During our recent safari through the Florida Everglades, heading through the Thousand Islands Channel towards the Gulf of Mexico, as our vessel streamed through mangroves, where resident manatees lived, an Irish story came into my notebooks.
It took us to a remote island not far from Donegal where a male dolphin made its mark.
As it began a regular routine of coming, going, and, returning in a newly designed pattern with its almost human new cycle in a life time. “The tale goes like this,” as Robert Louis Stevenson would write in his era. On a windswept Irish coastline a rural fellow owned a dog that loved to swim in an alcove of sea water nestled away from stormy torrents of the Atlantic.
The dog grew up there. with a natural affinity for slipping into the ocean for an evening swim. Before settling down in their cottage drying by a peat fire later. It was during those nighttime splashes where the owner witnessed– time and again–more movement in the swimming than a single creature might make.
Everything usually going in circles in the water. It turns out the dog had a swimming partner that was born and raised in the ocean. For the dog’s lively actions, in a rather whirling-dervish way, as it paddled, rotated, had been noticed by a dolphin in the wild.
The two were capturing the attention of land dwellers. The dolphin regularly cruising and meandering into the cove. The dog seemed so obviously intent about heading into swim around the same hour each evening.The owner was captivated with how his four footed animal had gradually developed an oceanic rhythm within the life of ” that big fish living out our doorway,” as he’d tell others.
Each time, there were the lively dark eyes of the dolphin as it breached and spy hoped in glancing about. Then…after the two had shared their aquatic company, and companionship, the dolphin would swim away separately. Making one last dip down into the deep.Before rising to the top showing its fin.
And, often it seems, it really does appear that dorsal fin is so much like that of a shark when you see a dolphin in its habitat.
But for the grace of accuracy both dog and master recognized the silhouette of their sea faring chum.
In gradual time the dolphin would navigate down into currents of the Atlantic. Leaving to feed and maintain its natural underwater regime. Naturalists reasoned the dolphin had in its way sought another to share time with. It was reasoned the Donegal dolphin had recently lost its partner.
Through time? The rigours of residing in the depths of the ocean? Whatever? And, like a human losing a mate the surviving dolphin was happy to discover a new swimming partner.
A neat connecting story, I thought, as those on land met another living in the element of deeper waters.
Particularly as mother dolphins kept circling our Safari boat and most amazingly turn on their sides–in some of the purest water in the world–and guided a young newborn into view. Like a human mother in a hospitable where recent infants have arrived.
The mother bursting with pride as she holds her baby.
Turning it gently so you can see it clearly. And there it is. The fresh mapping of new lives together being spawned inside those sincere, affectionate, mothering motions of love.