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Starbuck

I live on Lake Huron, but I’ve never gone fishing or seen any large creatures in the wild. I’ve always been extremely indoorsy and things like that were never important to me. The older I get the more I come to love nature, the small creatures: birds and squirrels, flowers, all of the things I can remember my grandparents and older people liking when I was a kid. Then, I couldn’t fathom why anyone would give a thought to them. Clearly some things have changed. Its is so rewarding to nurture plants; it feels equal parts scientific and magical. To watch seeds sprout and grow seemingly overnight. Watching flowers grow into fruits, the way they have for centuries. Its so simultaneously ordinary and extraordinary. There’s a reason the Romantic poets revered nature.

 

Last week I went on a whale watching tour in the San Juan Islands. I sometimes think about things that are difficult to imagine: Space. The vastness of the Ocean, a million dollars. The more I thought about what it would be like to see a whale, the more difficulty I had imagining it.

 

When it finally happened I was on the outside upper deck in the crisp fall Saturday air with about a hundred other people all leaning over a cold railing, precariously dangling their iphones. The boat announced: “If you look at 11 o’clock, you can see a fin” and we did, and we all collectively gasped and then were silent. It was a shocking moment somehow. I was correct, I would not have imagined that. That one hundred plus people could fall into collective reverence.

 

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Lets get whale watchin’! (The guy behind me isn’t going to see any)

The fin was a glossy black, impossibly straight and tall, swimming towards us. He slipped slightly, gracefully out of the water until we could see his white and then swam below. Everyone wanted more. The boat announced “That was L92, Crewser.” Identifying him through markings near his fin. It was surprising, their familiarity, and his…

 

He swam around our boat for nearly twenty minutes. Magnificent, Trusting. Despite the fact that 45 years ago – about half of an Orca’s possible lifespan- several members of his pod were captured, something the population has yet to recover from.

 

Seeing these magnificent creatures in the wild was something that even at the time felt life altering, and has captured both my attention and imagination in a way I never would have expected.

 

On a professional front, Vita Gardens is about helping the environment, being global citizens, and while directly we mostly focus that on people (and I have a forthcoming story about that) It’s not exclusively. Today we were happy to send donations to three wonderful charities. The Center for Whale Research , Orca Network, and The Whale Museum