What better way to follow up the 650 page monster known as "Moby Dick" then to read the sleek tale of "Grayson" written by Lynne Cox (2006). Like Moby, it involves a whale, by whereas Moby is a testosterone fueled story about killing a whale for revenge, Grayson is an estrogen fueled story about reuniting a lost whale pup with its mother.
It is based on a true experience Lynne Cox had as a teen, swimming in the Pacific. It starts early in the morning as she is swimming in the ocean, practising for a swim she is planning on doing. What is notable about this book is how it starts in a place of unknown mystery that could have been dangerous, but how Lynne faces her fears head-on, knowing that to give up immediately means to fail victim to always giving up or making excuses when the going gets tough and scary.
Her prose is beautiful, taking us right there in the water, in a place filled with creatures and humans who extend their compassion to the animal world.
Here are the moments of soul.
Page 3, the opening of chapter 1 "There's something frightening, and magical, about being on the ocean, moving between the heavens and the earth, knowing that you can encounter anything on your journey."
Page 24: "The promise of light made me feel a little more cozy and confident. At least now I would be able to see what was swimming under me- knowing was usually better than not knowing."
Page 58: "I didn't have any answers. But as long as we tried, as long as we kept looking, there was a chance we could find her. Sometimes it's the process of doing that makes things clear. if we don;t start, we never know what could have been. Sometimes the answers we find while searching are better or more creative than anything we could ever have imagined."
Page 81 "Sometimes things just don't make sense, sometimes there's no reason to explain how or why I wanted to do them; I only knew I had to, I had to try. Without trying I would never know what could happen...Sometimes the things that make the least sense to other people are the ones that make the most sense to me."
Page 82 "I was afraid. But I knew I had to. Sometimes I just did things because I thought I could and because if I didn't an opportunity to learn something, grow, and reach farther would be lost...Maybe my presence could even make a difference."
Page 84 (in trying to communicate with Grayson, the lost baby whale) "Maybe you communicate with you heart. That is what connects you to every living thing on earth. use your heart. It is love that surpasses all borders and barriers. It is constant and endless as the sea. Speak to him with your heart and he will hear you."
Page 96 "...that tension between losing and finding, that blank page between silence and song, that emptiness that creates and the need to create, to try, to imagine, to solve."
Page 97 "...the water depth no longer seemed so frightening. By changing my thoughts, I was able to alter my perspective, to calm down and to refocus."
105: "How long do I wait?...The answer came to me. Wait as long as you need to. The waiting is important as the doing: it's the time you spend training and the rest in between; it's the reading and the thinking about what you've read; it's the written words, what is said, what is left unsaid, the space between the thoughts on the page, that makes the story, and it's the space between the notes, the intervals between fast and slow, that makes the music. It's the love being together, the spacing, the tension of being apart, that brings you back together. Just wait, be patient, he will return."
107: "Sometimes it made no sense to be optimistic, but it sure beat being pessimistic."
134 "I thought as hard as I could...You don't have to hear the words to know someone cares about you. You don;t need to hear the words to know someone believes in you. You don;t need to hear the words to know someone loves you. You feel it; you know."
135: "Be patient. Wait. Nothing is all good or all bad. As a problem develops, so does the solution. Rest here. I will tread water beside you. You will be okay. I know it. I feel it. It will all work out."