Library of Congress CCN 67-10417
One night standing beside the dolphins sea tank on thst
island of St. Thomas, these feelings ahout the dolphins came to me very
strongly. There was no moon. There was a storm It was three o'clock
in the morning. The sea was throv ins large waves into the seaward bulwarks.
The water from the Caribbean was hoiling and crashing mto the intake
of the tank. In the dim light coming from the stars through the storm
clouds, I could barely see the water's surface. It was in violent motion
in the pool. The considerable noise was that of an angry sea dissipating
its primal force on unbending ancient rocks. In this rather eerie setting,
I resolved to let my thought go out to the three dolphins in the tank.
I tried to catch something of them, of their minds, in my own. The strangeness
and violence of the scene was rellected from me in them. All three were
swimming tightly close together; their triadic surfacing to breathe
was heard above the din. When their position was right, I could see
the rare glitter of their skin above the water. I imagined their bodies
below these smal i signs of them. I felt terribly alone, a lone human
being. I shivered at the thought of the sharks in the sea outside. I
imagined myself as a dolphin in that violent sea outsidc surrounded
by sharks. (A young man had been killed by a shark not too far away
from this location the year before.)
Suddenly I laughed. I realized that all of these thoughts
were not from the dolphins at all but were from within my own mind,
from my own brain. 1, a dry-land primate, whose ancestors moved out
of the trees onto the land, evolved from forms far from such scenes
as the one I was watching. This romantic foolish nonsense was bcing
generated by my own fears. The dolphins had no such thoughts as mune.
Obviously, the three dolphins were snug in their protccted pool, enjoying the wave motion of the warm tropical water. They sv am in a group circle for several hours apparently having a wonderful time. They realized that no sharks could penetrate, no sharks had penetrated, for the preceding two years in their pool. They were on a reiatively confined, but danger- free, vacation. In their terms, I was inappropriately dry, stuff, and afraid. They conld not afford as it werc. to be fearful when there was no reason for being fearful, for them.