Sunday, October 17, 2010

Death of a Whale

A blue whale was recently killed, running into a ship, and the mother whale's body washed up on shore.  We went to go see it yesterday.

(This post contains sad, slightly gruesome imagery)
Actually, I was going to post pictures, but decided that most people would be horrified by the sight of a picked-at, broken carcass of a huge whale with the baby calf torn out of its mother's womb.  So I decided not to.

Even now, I can smell the stench of rotting fish, hear the caws of the gulls and feel the chill in the air, even now I still think about the sadness of the death.

The scene was rather...disturbing to me at first.

When I came across it, I saw the sea gulls first, loud and flocking around the rocks.  The coarse sand was strewn with seaweed, and as I observed it carefully, I realized that there were...organs, scattered and picked at around the shore.  There was a form, similar to a whale, pale and almost complete.  I recognized one part as a tail, and now I believe it was the fetus of the pregnant whale.  I had to climb on top of the rocks to get a better view, and soon the smell drifted up to me.  Covering my nose with my jacket, I scrabbled across the other side of the rocks, avoiding entrails and baleen, hissing at the sea gulls to get a better view.

The whale was large, but somehow I expected it to be bigger.  It was lying in an odd position, stomach out, head hidden (we couldn't see the head, and maybe it was lost), tail almost severed from the rest of the body, chunks of fat and flesh showing.  Almost all of the skin was gone, and it looked almost as it had never been alive.  It made me rather queasy to see such a destroyed corpse, once a magnificent, living animal.

How quickly life can be destroyed, rendered subject to the waves and beak of the birds, the wind and decaying of flesh.

How almost...surreal, unbelievable something can be once a silent tragedy has been occurred.

I am still sad, almost uncomprehending still, of what happened.  Maybe in time I will realize this, but even as I try to wrap my head around the evanescence, the fragility of life, the stark and indifferent world, I will only remember a lonely feeling inside, and the images that remain.