Posted by: Michael D. Austin | May 13, 2013

Once is Too Many

Stranded dolphin

Stranded, Long-beaked Common dolphin

Many times I’ve been silently joyed to see dolphins cruising the surf on southern California beaches. They find me and I find them. I’ve seen them happily surfing the pressure wave off the bows of medium, fast ocean craft on which I’ve been a passenger. To me these are mystical, brilliant creatures with which I strongly identify. Their welcome presence is noted in thousands of years of our kind’s cultures, around our tiny blue planet. I sometimes see them in meditations. I sometimes dream them.

When they’re alive and healthy, they’re my miner’s canaries that Earth is well. Only once in my half-century of life have I personally seen any cetacean stranded on any beach. This was that time. I’ve seen hundreds of beaches, thousands of times, in 11 countries.

You may have heard of recent, mysterious cetacean strandings which are happening on both coasts of North America. This is one. Before I left the lovely sunset scene on a beautiful beach at which millions would envy the experience, I thank whatever, whoever made me turn one last time toward the Sun and notice this one, lifeless.

I know people, and I know the Earth. That I found this seemingly unhurt dolphin dead this evening, on Sycamore Canyon Beach at Pt. Mugu State Park, California, is an indication to me of a planet in deep trouble. You and I have choices, and now is the time to make them. Not later. Now.

The reason I’d want to know why this dolphin died would be to ascertain what could be done for it not to happen to others. Gershon Cohen of the Great Whale Conservancy, and his co-founder Michael Fishbach, wrote to me that this is a Long-beaked Common dolphin.

Its colors were quite beautiful and subtle, both thalassic and Earthy. Its greys were slate or ocean grey. Its tans were like a foothill flower common here after it dries, Everlast, or the color of desert soil. Its white was like chalk.

Stranded dolphin from left

Stranded, Long-beaked Common dolphin from left


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