Sunday, April 15, 2007

Selkie swayed to speak hidden truths

Jim Banholzer

I was privy as to certain information regarding the Mermaid of the Bigwood. She was captured in an underwater cell video, tranquilly sipping liquid from a simmering coconut shell she discovered floating downstream. Within the tempting coconut slices was sprinkled an elderberry mead concoction, which persuaded the tastee to speak the truth three times consecutive. The trick was in the form of the question, for if the questioner were not careful he could still come away deceived. In addition, one man’s truth might not match that of another’s.

One renewing millennium as I ducked under the river’s edge for a simple splish-splash, the mermaid’s nemesis Mr. Mossinghoff, heralded this super-secret into my ear. He had recently come undone, from being ensnared spellbound in her Venus flytrap garden. I came away with a surprisingly cleaner covenant than what was expected from the foamy spring. Wanting to know and deeply believing she would speak truth, I asked the mermaid, what was the most exhilarating day of her life?

Standing beside the river, I reflected how we each have our best moments. Every fish in the sea experiences its brightest flashbulb instant. Sometimes these singular seconds illuminate all day, or imbed in head for life. Like two good sports hitting it off for the first time as fine friends, watching a younger sibling catch her first immaculate cutthroat from the Bigwood. Or for cliff rock-divers, attaining that ideal ten from their acrobatic acts into that twelve-foot opening. Maybe an X-streamed sportsperson unwinding half-piped troubles via impeccable pitch. Or a perfect called third strike to end the World Series in a game to transform people’s lives. Perhaps one Giant leaper for humankind agilely exceeding a tip-top bar, by several inches on that important jump, which for a cool second levitates gravity laws –outdoors naturally.

The mermaid must have read my mind, because she said that her favorite day was when she learned to chant alarming siren songs concerning nature. Then she backpedaled stroking upstream, tugging behind a leaky barrel of the singular serum, further defying natural order. Mr. Moss looked a bit bewildered.

My second question struck as a bolt from the blue while jogging along shore leaves. I asked the Mermaid to thrust her mischievous redhead into the grandpa-elder hollow to ask the former towering tree, what its sunniest day was. After a glistening spell, she pulled her head from the wound’s twisted vortex, with three replies scribed on woodchip endings: Through the mermaid, the elder-tree communed; that there was a day that broke open like so many others. The elder had been weeping for loss of its willowfriend over a bridge. Then a plump robin redbreast laid her eggs in its lower branches. Sensitivity nestled back in the tingling wind. Soon the elder grasped bird-by-bird songs sufficiently striking as to startle lumberjacks in tracks. Chainsaw strings pulled loose from mechanisms like useless nooses. The aura of elderberry enchantment even deflected lightning off and over to smoldering Trail Creek boulders.

With polished question number three, I pointedly asked this babe of inland sea, why were reporters were not conducting more man on the street interview questions like this across town traffic: What was your shiniest moment sir? What is the secret talent of your children? In what arenas do you foresee glimmers of hope after the slow crash, we are inside the bubble of?

The mermaid flipped me out a third time, by singing, “it is because in this realm most media outlets –including many ‘alternatives’ are controlled by vast underworld networks, where power frequently pollutes spirit. To herald some shining news without being too sappy, courageous captains will have to continue dipping into a sea of metaphor and fairy tale to convey veiled messages of valor.”

Then, she continued her watery whisper, spouting these prime Tolkien words, There are truths that are beyond us, transcendental truths about beauty, truth, honour, etc. There are truths that man knows exist, but they cannot be seen, they are immaterial but no less real to us. It is only through the language of myth that we can speak of these truths. We have come from God and only through myth, through story telling, can we aspire to the life we were made for with God.”

This was enough hearkening for one day. Last, I heard the Mossman took a cue from an Amish nymph and adorned a plaque, speckled with moss that certifies his historical forgiveness of the Mermaid. He now chases a Lorelei on the north side of trees out Warm Springs where sometimes they both can be seen swinging from the same vines.


Man of Moss said...

Shelly Preston said...

I know those selkies! One lives in our bay. She is white with light grey spots and very
>> distinguishable from the other seals (or, so I like to think!).
>> she hauled out on the rocks with her new baby! A little wrinkled
>> black
thing. I was so impressed as it's unusual to see a seal hauled out on our
>> beach. She spent most of the day swimming off our beach and dock with
>> baby. It was fascinating. I've heard seal moms are terrible at taking
>> of their babies. But, she did not let that baby out of her sight and
>> playing with it. The baby was riding on her back and snuffling up
>> close
>> the mom's mouth - it looked like a big kiss, but was probably the mom
regurgatating fish for the baby. Which is also odd as I didn't think seal
>> moms taught their babies to hunt. They basically just nurse them for
>> a
month and them ditch them to fend for themselves. Maybe I'm
>> romantacizing
>> this relationship. But, they sure seemed tight! I'll hope for the
>> best
>> hope that the pair of eagles hanging out in the trees above the rocks
>> not just waiting for their opportunity to snatch that baby! Such a
>> here. Still, it's always interesting!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Loved the Roan Innish movie, but got most of my selkie mythology from the kid's book "The Seal Mother" -- which was one of Anneka's favorite books when she was little. She still refers to it even now as she tries to puzzle through why I left her, and the mountains, to live by the ocean again (by the way, that seal mother ditched her kid too).

Really liked your "selkie/mermaid swayed to speak..." tale. Can especially relate to the quote "Every fish in the sea experiences its brightest flashbulb instant. Sometimes these singular seconds illuminate all day, or imbed in head for life."

Living here is full of such singular seconds that do illuminate my day, almost every day and contribute to my growing passion for the marine world. Maybe I am a descendent of the clan from Roan Innish!

The wrinkly, newborn seal pup's mother is one that I've been watching feed off our beach since last fall. Because her coat is so white, and the water here so clear, it is easy to see her as she rolls and somersaults while feeding. I have not seen her or her pup in the last two days. I'm actually relieved. There is a pair of eagles building a nest just about our bay. They are brutal on hauled out seal pups. I suspect now that her pup is a little older and stronger she was able to move it to a safer spot.

(11am)... Dave interrupted me as I wrote this email to you, an hour ago, to tell me that the baby seal was hauled out on our beach, in front of the cabin we cook our meals in! Just when I thought I had it all figured out. Once again, blatantly shown how human logic doesn't apply to the whims of the natural world! Must make a note to stop being so egocentric and to stop wasting my time trying to hypnotize the seals into doing what I think is best for them! Anyway, just spent the last hour watching the baby and stressing over the eagles perched above. Better than any episode of Mutual of Omaha's "Wild Kingdom" -- !! I'm now off to my stint as docent in the local "whale museum." Have a tour of 30 kids coming in to learn all about orcas. Dave will babysit while I'm gone and make sure the eagles don't make lunch out of the pup. By the way, the pup was all dried out from laying in the sun and is also white like it's mother. Very cool.