Turning to the sea

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Our longtime friend and supporter Nancy Lord used to set-net on the west side of Alaska’s Cook Inlet. Beluga whales “often passed our camp in huge pods, often more than a hundred at a time, and sometimes when we were in our skiff we’d cut the motor just to drift among them,” she said. “They always avoided our nets.”  

Here she shares a formal Italian sonnet about those beluga encounters.


  A Beluga sonnet 
 
The sound of breathing turns me to the sea 
And stops me as I walk my cobbled shore.  
Belugas rising, breaths like mist before 
Their sleek white backs roll down, elegantly, 
And next in line appears just feet from me. 
They’re moving without pause, at least five score. 
Beneath silt-water, likely many more. 
Cruising at slack, they follow fish, calmly.  
 
Some are larger, some lighter or more gray, 
The young along with mothers, hugging close, 
All in rhythmic motion, heading upbay 
Like wheels turning, until one lifts a nose 
And looks ashore before she dives away. 
Wondrous white whales—my fondness only grows. 
Beluga whales surfacing in Cook Inlet.
Cook Inlet belugas whales. Photo by Paul Wade, NOAA Fisheries.
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