I am ringing in the New Year in one of the last places to reach 2015. As I’m writing this, Moscow has just switched the calendar, but I am drinking morning coffee still and watching rain clouds deliberate opening over lava fields in Hawaii.
2014 was a great year. I turned 28, Merbabe Adventures turned 3. I reached a new goal in my diving instruction, made new friends and saw new things underwater.
But my hopes for 2015 are ever greater: greater for my blog ideas and prospects of my personal future in learning and education. This year, I am writing a long list of new year’s resolutions, not as some sort of Type A get it done checklist, but with the hope that i’ll meet some and strive to meet others and in general, see how it went in 365 days time. It’s a wonderful thing, casting a wide net. You may end up with a boat full of things you didn’t know you could catch, or that you’d even want to.
Thus far, diving off the big Island in the beautiful Hawaiian islands, I have seen one lonely shark in a lava cave, looking nervous and skittish at our presence. I have seen spotted puffers, and moorish idols, and honeycomb eels. I sat and looked out over the water where an ancient temple hid beneath the glassy surface: a heaiu, where sharks still cruised and lazily dragged their fins over the water.
Reading many books, as one does on vacation, I just finished “The Devil’s Teeth” by Susan Casey. It is about the Pacific White Shark population and the research done on the Farallon Islands near San Francisco. One of my favorite quotes from the story was from researcher Peter Pyle. “They’re animals. We’re animals. We have opposable thumbs and a brain but as far as life on Earth goes, no one thing is better than another…I hate the word anthropomorphism. It should be the other way around. Not how animals are like humans, but how humans are like animals” (pp. 132).
I tend to anthropomorphize a lot. I imagine what animals are saying, what they are doing, how they are going about their day. It’s my way of relating to them and seeing them in terms I understand. I wonder if they’re doing it to me, when I see them underwater and look into their eyes, it’s a strange feeling to be registered by them and contemplated by them (and then usually disregarded by them). But it’s selfish. This year, I am going to make an effort to do less anthropomorphizing and more to be like them. Care less about how I look, more about my environment. Less about the daily grind, more about the joy of being alive day to day. Less focus on me, more focus on family.
happy new years! thanks for reading through another year with me