I was driving along the coast of Connecticut, heading toward a right curve that put the car alongside the sparkling blue water of the Atlantic Ocean. To the left was an unpopulated white beach. I saw mist was coming up from beneath the surface and recognized it as the product of whales’ blow holes.
I had been fascinated by the majesty of whales since fifth grade when we studied them for a whole unit and adopted one as a class. So to see this spontaneous display as I drove was quite emotional for me. That’s why, when a blue whale launched itself out of the water, high into the air like an acrobat before diving back below the surface, I felt tears welling in my eyes. I wanted to stop to watch, but couldn’t. I continued to drive, upset by my inability to stop, simultaneously thrilled by the natural spectacle occurring right there on the coast.
Ocean now obscured by brush and with the golden sun setting, I pulled into the town where street vendors hawked their crafts and food. All I could appreciate was that no one shared my excitement over the whale.
Then, with that unpleasant tightness in the chest that accompanies the undesirable outcome of a dream, I awoke.
I read so many articles yesterday that were about the narrowing of our curricula and the complacency of test prep. A whale in my dream arrived to say it shouldn’t be that way. We should celebrate the amazing things in our world, the spontaneity of discovering what we never knew about, and the joy of experiencing firsthand what interests us.
Let’s not become the disinterested street vendors so focused on their profits that we forget about everything else. Let’s remember the whales.