Dolphin Breaching with the Sun

a dolphin crests the sea of cortez just as the sun breaches the horizon

“The Great Turning is a name for the essential adventure of our time: the shift from the industrial growth society to a life-sustaining civilization. Future generations, if there is a livable world for them, will look back at the epochal transition we are making to a life-sustaining society. And they may well call this the time of the Great Turning. It is happening now.”

– Joanna Macy, environmental activist, scholar

I’ll never forget heading out in a zodiac boat before sunrise, skimming across the Sea of Cortez in preparation for taking this photograph. It was one of those experiences where I wonder if I’m better off just putting the camera down and taking it in with my raw eyeballs, and for a brief moment I did just that – lowered the camera for just long enough to see a dolphin breaching the sea’s surface and heading our way. “PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let that dolphin come up for air at the right moment….” and *SNAP!* this beautiful mermaid did just that – quite a gift to have clicked the shutter at just the right moment. It doesn’t always happen like this! 

Being aware of more than what is happening through the viewfinder can make all the difference, especially with wildlife photography – perhaps even more so in our daily lives.

Photo Credits:  Dolphin Breaching with the Sun  by Susan J. Preston, Sea of Cortez, Baja California Sur © 2017, all rights reserved
Technical: Fuji XT-2 | XF 100-400mm


In the recesses of my own grief these past months my intention has been to take hold of the heavy hand of pain, trusting the despair and loneliness sitting on my front step and knocking on the door were being led by a deeper and broadening wisdom inside me. Patience is the key to opening, but like the chambers of my heart, which opens and then closes, I take in only what can be held in any given moment. 

In the vacant nooks of this liminal bookcase, my intention has been to hold the heavy hand of pain, trusting the despair and loneliness waiting on the front step are being led by a deeper and broadening wisdom inside me. A key inscribed Welcome sits on the mantle, the only key that opens the door. Like the chambers of my heart, which open and then close, I take in only what can be held in any given moment, then close. 

Where is the soundless place between the opening and closing? The liminal, in-between realm of emptiness, betwixt chapters, where up is down and no one is sure if we're coming or going? Where the pain of uncertainty wants to give way to the freedom in not knowing. 

I'm being asked to stop trying to think my way out of this place. The burdens I carry – and perhaps yours as well – were crafted in clay, which must be spirited through and felt toward. Our armored, ego-driven intellects, vaporous beliefs, and worn out stories are no match for the problems facing us. What we need are elementary kindness and humble wisdom. And we can't call them forth that without tenderly picking up the pieces of own broken hearts with a commitment to stop polarizing each shard.

Wake up! Wake the fuck up! says the wordless voice who 

The thing about deep grief, which I knew all too well with the passing of a beloved friend to suicide five years ago, is it appears for good reason. Many things that were once cherished or taken for granted are suddenly gone. To deny Grief's knocking and expect ourselves to just get over it is inhumanely incongruent with what it means to be fully human. Once I discovered I would never think my way out of the pain and learned to carry it with grace it became one of my greatest teachers. 

As I move through this time of endarkening, I'm reminded of how precious life is, no matter how difficult. Enlightenment doesn't alight upon us with fairy wings. First comes the descent into the knowledge that the keys, and the gentlest hands that hold them, lie within.  

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