As a kid I was always fascinated by the animal world. I remember subscriptions to some sort of National Geographic for kids program in which I would get fact sheets about particular animals every month. I organized all of these in a series of binders and would spend hours pouring over the colorful pages. I can still remember distinct images- the hairy fanged tarantula, red-butt baboon, a diagram of a cobra next to a man showing their full height (over 7ft), the razor sharp teeth of a piranha. One set of pages was particularly worn, the set of facts I had about my favorite animal at the time- dolphins.
I knew lots of girls when I was younger who loved horses. They read the Saddle Book Club books and had horse posters around their rooms. I harbored this same obsession but for dolphins instead. I loved hearing stories about their intelligence, learning of human and dolphin interactions, watching films and reading books that told of the creatures. I watched Flipper hundreds of times and my favorite book was Island of the Blue Dolphins. I even sported a bright orange and teal Miami Dolphins winter jacket (despite my family’s die hard devotion to the Buffalo Bills) just so I could wear something that unashamedly showed off my interest in the animal.
Gradually over time, my interest in dolphins shifted to all marine life. For several years I strongly declared that I wanted to be a marine biologist when I grew up, barely understanding what the title meant. The summer my parents finally took me to Sea World we got to go to Dolphin Cove and pet and feed the dolphins. Pictures from the day documented my tears of joy and extreme excitement.
Eventually, realizations about my lack of skills in math and science deterred me from my childhood dream and other interests took over. However, I still hold a great fascination for our marine world. This past weekend we made a trip to see friends and 4 of us visited the Atlanta aquarium. We walked around for hours, dazed and delighted, blue light from the tanks illuminating our faces. I loved experiencing that thrill that I had as a child, the extreme wonder and interest in a world so unlike our own.
Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand. -Henry David Thoreau
The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever. -Jacques Yves Cousteau