Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Tanya Writes About the Orca Dying on Brennecke's Beach
One morning before breakfast, my hero took a long walk along Poipu's lovely beaches, leaving me to coffee and the newspaper. After a bit, my cell phone rang.
Amazingly, I wasn't freaked that it might be our kids or the neighbors back home reporting some emergency. I guess it's that laid-back aloha thing. I just picked up the phone to hear my hero say, "There's an orca beached at Brennecke's."
An orca? Oh, I've always loved them. So black and white, such perfect contrast. No shades of gray. When I really think about it, I hate that Shamu is tanked and confined at Sea World...but that's the only way I could have seen an orca up close and personal. In my mind flashed our son, those years ago, hugging his stuffed orca close to his heart after a San Diego vacation.
"Orca?" I replied, confused. "Aren't they cold water, Pacific north?"
"Yeah, but there's a small pod off Kauai."
Then I recalled, beaching isn't a good thing. "Is he going to die?" I could hear my hero nod; he knows my passion for animals. "Should I get dressed and come over?" I asked, hoping he'd say no. "Would I be sad?
He relieved me of my decision. "Yeah, you'd be sad. Stay there. I'll be back in a little while." But my cell rang again in a few minutes.
"I just wanted you to know," he said. "There is a kahuna here now, blessing the whale. It's kinda neat."
Well, I headed on over on a perfect Kauai morning, the kind you dream about when you get home. And I ended up in tears. Students from the university --a rescue squad-- were there along with all kinds of uniformed professionals who'd roped off the beach. Conch shells blew in the breezes, almost the sounds of whale song. A priest in native lava-lava and ti-leaves performed a ceremony.
I said a prayer for the orca, for I firmly believe animals have some sort of soul. After all, God made them and He is perfect. Even my hero sent out a sniffle.
We walked back to the resort, slow, awash in memories of how precious life is. How fleeting. How instantly things can change, how most times we take health for granted until you're knocked in the head with something like...cancer.
Not long after, vets euthanized the little guy...a sub-adult first thought to be a little girl. Sharks had already bit chunks out of his belly which had further been sliced by the lava rocks on shore. He was thin and sickly, but the loss of anything beautiful is a tragedy. And the resort then closed the beach after further shark sightings.
That afternoon, we drove north to the dear little town of Hanalei...of Puff the Magic Fame. And at one of the eating places, we saw a black and white kitty, the restaurant mascot. I petted her, a tuxedo cat soft and warm. Black and white.
No shades of gray.