Oh, the poor whale.
Holly Finch, fellow KCU member and July 7th passenger ran to see him as did many other Londoners. It sounds like a magical story: The Whale who Came to London. But it had a sad ending.
What can he teach us? It was inspiring to see so many people wishing him well, the sad little pats people gave him when they waded into the water to try to encourage him to keep swimming. Small gestures of solidarity: none of us is alone in this big city. We breathe the same air and we live in close promimity to each other and however different we seem to each other, we can wish each other well and try to help each other on our journey. This was one of the things I learned last summer. Even a giant visitor from the mysterious ocean depths was surrounded by hopeful new friends when he swam up the Thames and past the Houses of Parliament .
I am sorry he did not finish his journey. Or perhaps he did, he swam into a strange new world, and he knew he was dying. But he was not butchered, as he would have been a hundred years ago. He was wondered at and stroked and everybody wanted very much to help him and he died, frightened and shocked but with creatures of a different species anxious to be at his side as he struggled to breathe the cold London air.
We were awed by his presence and we are sad at his passing. He made us stop and think and wonder.
I re-read a favourite book last night.Whale Nation by Heathcote Williams is a wonderful meditation on these ancient wild creatures and I really recommend that you read the whole thing if you have time. And these people not only sell the book, with beautiful photos but they raise money to protect dolphins and whales, here and all over the world.
I used to sponsor a young dolphin who lived off the Moray Firth called 'Whiskey'. If you were sad at the death of the whale who came to London, you can pledge money to help his fellow creatures and that might make make you feel a small glow of satisfaction on this gloomy mid-winter Monday.