If you’ve seen me lately, and have been wondering why I’ve been giggling randomly to myself, it’s all the fault of my last float…
I was deep underwater. I felt very calm, and the water was deep blue all around me. I was swimming, slowly and majestically, and I noticed and enjoyed my large graceful undulations. All of this seemed utterly normal, and I had no awareness of anything else.
Off in the distance, I saw something, and I started moving toward it. I was unhurried and okay with whatever it might be. Maybe it was food, maybe something else. As I moved, my perception shifted from within my body to outside of it, and at one point I observed that my skin was black and glossy, showing water reflections from the surface above. As I got closer, I realized that the other thing was a whale.
We were now face to face. At this point a shadowy, dreamlike thought occurred to me that I loved whales.* And this whale was right up close! I turned to get a better look at it, and it turned with me. I turned back, and it followed.
It dawned upon me that I was looking in a reflective surface** and then two surprising thoughts occurred simultaneously:
- I’M A WHALE!
- I’M NOT USUALLY A WHALE!
“HEY!” I said, out loud. Air bubbled out of my mouth. The whale in the mirror said HEY, deeply and resonantly, and the startled look on its face was so singular, so striking, that I started laughing. Laughing completely popped me out of the state I had been in, and suddenly, I was back in the tank, back in Somerville, and back in my human body.
But I’m pretty sure I’ll be treasuring Sara-whale’s goofy, slow-motion shocked face for a long time.
* I do love whales. I donated to the SnotBot project. I’ve had a few encounters with them, including a being in a tiny boat in the middle of a pod of humpbacks snacking in Halifax Harbour. That was the day I learned about happy panic attacks.
** Don’t ask me to explain this part; I don’t know.
Edited to add some tags and revise images.