Here’s the germ. The genesis. The locket for the pocket. Soul enters this world through our body with its own (karmic) agenda...what to accomplish before we die. As we age the undone work of the soul becomes more strident. What we have blocked, ignored or put on the back burner demands attention. Fair enough. It’s not easy to think “soul” with a chub-legged, irascible two-year old in the house.
Along about 40 (kid period over; menopause under way) the Soul takes over where the two-year left off. She begins to act up; demand attention. She sends us dreams to jolt desire. She pricks us with edgy discontent. And if all else fails she sends us into a state of dis-ease to force the work that must be done. It’s ultimatum time. Pop those anti-depressants or let go of the tried, no-longer-true. Pull on the hiking boots and head out for the landscape of the soul. Soulscape. Wizened woman’s karmic terrain. I have written about this for many years. What is new is the quickening convergence of soul and planet. The work is inseparable, and although most two-leggeds may be clueless, the wild beings on this floating sphere called home are not. Their megaphone is in our ear.
Before the pumas of the Rocky Mountains there were the grizzlies of the Purcell’s. Before the grizzlies were the gray whales of Mexico’s birthing lagoons. Tom and I were almost halfway down the Baja Peninsula when we stopped in Guerrero Negro to stock up on fresh lobster, shrimp and scallops. That’s where the dilapidated wooden billboard caught my eye, announcing gray whales and boat tours on Laguna Ojo de Liebre. I checked the map. We weren’t that far from the formerly-named "Scammon’s Lagoon," the whaler who discovered the gray's secluded secret in 1857, entered, harpooned and slaughtered. This now fiercely-protected laguna ballenas (lagoon of the whales)miraculously remained the destination of the gray’s migration from the waters off Alaska. There was camping. We said yes.
It wasn’t my intent to boat into the lagoon. It was enough to step upon the beach and see 45-feet of slate gray body heave straight up from the sea, lean and splash. The bay brimmed with churning whales at dusk. The haunting sound of spouting water rose through the darkness all night long. By the next afternoon the daily handful of sightseers had departed and a little panga sat empty on the shore. I was suddenly spirited by an urge to head out to sea. Within twenty minutes we were surrounded by the giant ones.
Enrique, our boatman, spoke little English. He told us that the recent census had counted 1500 gray whales. “They live to be 50-60 years old,” he said. The males sky-hopped and spouted from afar as mothers and calves swam nearby; babes five weeks old. I marveled as they nuzzled their mamas’ sides, rolling over them, never apart. Art in motion.
I was full as any moment in my life and ready to turn towards shore when events demanded otherwise. One mother and calf picked up speed and headed for our boat. Wonder turned to fear when it was clear they weren’t going to stop. I tensed against a ram and glanced worriedly from Enrique to Tom as she dove under our seats at the very last moment. I jerked the straps to tighten my life vest as I caught sight of her again, coming full steam. Once more they reached the panga and dove. She and babe were having, dare I say, a whale of a time? They sped towards us a third time, disappeared and no, wait! Mother whale's gargantuan head rose from the water at the side of the boat and stayed until I lowered my hand and we touched. Her scarred, barnacled skin was velvet soft. And that eye. The eye. She starred straight into my soul, slicing through eons of separation. Affirming oneness. As if to drive home her point she dipped, circled and delivered her calf to my touch. Little silky one, deep wrinkle on his forehead, an ineffable aura of sweetness and power. And just like that, they were gone. Our deserted panga left rocking in the vast, silent lagoon.
Mothers with babes, breaking their wild strides that we might meet and fuse. We have work to do, Women. We have work to do.