Aug 23, 2013

'Animated shower caps'

One Friday in June, when my recently self-imposed sabbatical from Face Book on Fridays was still novel enough to inspire, I walked out again by the Charles at lunch time.

After having stumbled upon the fish running a few weeks ago, I was motivated to tear my eyes away from the lovely blue skies down to the murky waters of the harbor below me. My faith did not go un-rewarded.

Per"Moon Jelly, Aurelia aurita. Sea jellies, sometimes called jellyfish, are boneless, brainless and heartless, and are made almost entirely of water. They are also survivors, and have been around since before the dinosaurs"
           After a few seconds of 'looking' let me 'see',  I realized that the water teemed with them. Each little jelly pulsed, puffed and propelled languidly to a rhythm of its own. Sizes varied, the number of circles in the middle (gonads, BTW) differed and their trajectories changed. Yet their take-over of the waters was undeniable. The graceful dance and seemingly indolent pursuit of sustenance begged comparison with the frenetic pace around me. Not just the traffic and bustle of Boston but the pace of our lives that propelled it all. To extend a tired analogy, the ticking of the clock amplifies into such a pounding beat in all our little lives these days, that it drowns out everything else. From the micro-level where project deadlines must be met and tomatoes used up before they mould right up to the 30 thousand feet view, where our Life goals cry out to be assessed and revised as mid-age approaches and recedes. Everything, a race - even when we didn't sign up for one. Or did we?
         Then these brainless creatures, unsuspectingly residing in our midst. Just. Chipping. Away. One swish at a time, one bite of plankton here, a quick detour from a rock there - but always propeeled by the need for sheer survival. As we tangle up our lives in webs of our making (this punishing inner critique included),  at the cost of breathing, relaxing, smiling and taking in all that we have been given - they just simply carry on

A Smithsonian article about the Moon jellies I saw in the Charles says "In their domelike bells, guts are squished beside gonads. The mouth doubles as an anus. (Jellies are also brainless, “so they don’t have to contemplate that,” one jelly specialist says.)".   I wouldn't go quite as far as wishing for an anatomical rearrangement but less thinking sounds about right at times too. My respect is further enhanced by reading that they are so adaptable as to be slowly taking over our oceans - from thriving in dying, oxygen-poor waters through  growing off of washed out fertilizers to replacing larger fish in food webs in marine ecosystems.

These lazy, slow, brainless creatures with gonads for brains, who know how to just keep at it - are slowly coming to dominate. I on the other hand, am leaning on sun-warmed railings by a lovely river on my lunch break, watching them in awe as half my brain starts the process of disengaging so I can head back to Dilbert-land and achieve those all critical professional milestones that a year from now will be invisible and worthless.

But remember the struggling Boston Ivy from a former post? It was struggling up through a crack in pavement and winding delicate tendrils  around a wire fence, putting out tiny delicate leaves.

Here it is now, a few weeks after:
It all goes on. As do we. 

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