Several years ago, I had the profound opportunity to go “whale watching” off the Nova Scotian shoreline from the Bay of Fundy. Many of us squeezed onto a relatively small traditional sea craft designed for day’s jaunt out into the deep cold blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Years earlier, we had tried a similar adventure off the coast of Newfoundland without much luck. The Bay of Bulls was rugged and gorgeous and littered with Puffins tucked along the cave-like crevices outlining the shore. But during this first attempt, no whales were willing to come to the surface of the water for a breath or a visit.
We were very lucky to spot a family of North Atlantic Right Whales during our second attempt! Most especially, we were all graced by the playfulness of a mother and her calf who decided that our small group of people were worthy of exploration. At the time, it truly seemed as though the mother whale had spotted us. She made the decision to “come a little closer” to the now rocking boat as everyone watched in quiet amazement.
The captain of this small ship had turned off the motor and allowed the boat to sway in unison with movement of the waves. The quiet rocking captured the curiosity of this fierce and beautiful sea creature who swam with her calf about half of a kilometer from our location to take a closer look at the curious human creatures aboard.
After several moments of what seemed to be looking at the boat and the people, the mother and her calf began to swim, shallow dive, and show off their tale flukes. In the generosity of spirit that we are sometimes fortunate to experience firsthand in life, nature entertained us freely and with what seemed to be joy!
Mother and calf swam and chased each other playfully, and we all felt the harmonious impact of nature firsthand. I will always treasure these moments and feel privileged to have had this and several other similar opportunities in the wild.
During the 1990’s, many North Atlantic Right Whales were trapped in high seas fishing gear innocently suffering injury and death due to what is now understood to be a natural intellectual curiosity of this ancient mammal with whom humanity shares the earth.
As you continue to cope with Covid and the restrictions to your everyday freedom caused by infection control rules and regulations, you might find that yourself reflecting more about the health of our planet. These are certainly big ideas that may result in you feeling overwhelmed, or guilty for not recycling enough, or sorting your garbage properly, relying on fossil fuel, or more.
The call of nature is truly an overpowering and beautiful one.
Covid also sprang up from a series of natural factors that together wreaked havoc on people on a global scale. The pace at which this virus spread and continues to spread is worrisome. It provides all of us with cause to pause and re-evaluate what we hold most dear in our world. It also gives us cause to consider our collective impact on the health of the planet and the many creatures entrusted to our care.
Take some time this week to look at your old photo albums, and pictures from your adventures in nature. It is a practical and effective way to reclaim some of those feelings you had when you engaged in these experiences, and will help to remind you what life will be like again once covid is a thing of the past. It might also inspire you to contribute to a program by volunteering or donating your support.
If you find that you are feeling more depressed in response to persisting stay at home orders, please reach out to a professional counsellor for help. Processing your feelings is a healthy and effective way to maintain your wellness through Covid.
We care how you feel.
Lisa Romano-Dwyer BSc, MSW, PhD, RSW