A YOUNG MAN – scarcely more than a boy – stands on a rock beside the deep sea. A whale surfaces next to him, almost within reach. I can’t say if the boy knows the whale, but he knows of the whale: all his life he’s watched families of them travel along this coast. Recently, he learned the words of one such journey.
The boy doesn’t retreat from the rocky edge; he doesn’t step away from the whale. Instead, he dances out onto the whale’s back and dives into its spout. Inside the whale is like a cave, and its heart is a fire. Leaping with excitement, the boy prods and pokes that pulsing heat and sings the song he’s so newly learned: the song of the whale. And the whale, resonating with song in its skull. Well, in English we use the word ‘sounds’ for what it does. The whale dives, the song goes deep. Boy and whale are one; and the boy’s voice sings on as darkness closes around and the last silver bubbles slide away.
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