Dolphins Frolic Near Shore at Child’s Favorite Beach
Adults deeply moved; distant fins fail to inspire Kina
I have never seen dolphins in the wild before, and despite the occasional tragic news of an errant dolphin being trapped in the Gowanus Canal, it had not really occurred to me that one might expect to spot a pod of dolphins in the water a few hundred feet from shore at a New York City beach. This was likely also true of the five other parents at Jacob Riis Beach yesterday, all of whom were transfixed by the sight of four playful dolphins as their children dug blissfully in the sand.
When I was a kid, I briefly wanted to become a marine biologist—mostly because of the presumed access to dolphins. Who doesn’t like a dolphin? They’re more socially sophisticated than us, communicate over great distances in chirps and whistles, blow bubble rings for kicks, and seem quite content not to have jobs. Despite all of that, I had until recently really lost track of dolphin news and, presumably, where they all lived. Most of my exposure to dolphins has been through YouTube videos, where I note that they can be seen from boats (where I seldom choose to spend my time) and in confinement (which I abhor). This is not, to be sure, the kind of exposure to marine biology that eleven-year-old me signed up for. He didn’t yet know about boats, probably.
And so it was with some nostalgia that I stared out at the waves yesterday and watched the dolphins surface and submerge, in no particular rush to go anywhere, just lolling about at Jacob Riis Park Bay #9 to amuse lapsed marine biologists and other parents with laughably ill-equipped iPhone cameras. For a moment, the four families spread out over an acre of beach were shouting back and forth to each other about the miracle dolphins, running down to the shore to get a better look. I was reaching for an adjective as I wrote the paper this morning to describe what it was like for me—something at the intersection of “inspiring” and “wistful”; I went for “moved”, which is close enough, but I can tell you here that the moment did have strong “nature is healing” vibes, and it really made my day.
All the while, Kina was picking up “crampy-looking”1 shells and remaining staunchly disinterested. She has not yet decided to be a marine biologist and will probably regret not being “moved”, but I’ll have the story in my back pocket if she ever changes her mind.
Today’s Parade is an absurdist collage. The artist insisted that the entire work emerge from her hand-drawn rainbow, and the rest is basically animals cut from Highlights magazine and a yellow moon she cut from some yellow construction paper probably a year ago. I tried to get her to read the word “nap” out loud, but she got mad at me. Artists are temperamental.
I’m going to assume she means “crappy”, because she definitely has a naughty face when she says it.