Occupied by jellyfish

A spotted jelly performs at The Jellies Experience, Monterey Bay Aquarium, CA, December 2002.

A spotted jelly at The Jellies Experience, Monterey Bay Aquarium, CA, December 2002.

“The real world is in a much darker and deeper place than this, and most of it is occupied by jellyfish and things. We just happen to to forget all that. Don’t you agree? Two-thirds of earth’s surface is ocean, and all we can see with the naked eye is the surface: the skin.”Haruki Murakami

When I’m staring, mesmerized, at the vastness of the ocean, I’m usually thinking only of the surface; of the play of the light on the waves, and the endless rhythmic motion.  The sheer expanse of it leaves me breathless.  If I stop to think about the teeming life beneath, extending across the unimaginable distance, it becomes really mind-blowing.

I think that’s why some of us get the creeps when it comes to entering the parallel universe under the sea. There’s something otherworldly about it, but we are faced with the jarring realization that this “other” world is the biggest part of the one we live in, and we depend on it in more ways than we realize.

I don’t think I’d ever make a good marine biologist, but I am glad some people are drawn to that career.  And I’m glad aquariums exist for the benefit of the rest of us, who stand, as it were, at arm’s length from the drama of life in the largest kingdom on earth.  Even if we only visit aquariums occasionally, it’s an effective reminder of how much we do not know; how small a detail of the big picture we see each day.

One year ago today:

When you finally see

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Good morning, Julia! This got me thinking about a part of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, when the ship passed over a place where mermaids were living. So interesting to think about – the 3-D space of the ocean.

    • That particular book was my favorite of the Narnia chronicles. I totally loved Reepicheep! 😀

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