August 24, 2009
Elegy for a sea kitty.
I’ve featured Lion’s Mane jellyfish on these enpixelated pages once or twice before, but they’re always so fascinating to me that I can’t help but share this one with you. It’s roughly 18 inches wide, and in the process of ending its life, which spans only about a year. I hope it was a pleasant one filled with everything that a jelly might desire. Did it float around to wonderful places with comfy temperatures? Get enough sex? Eat out at some great spots, enjoying the background music of the passing Orcas’ latest hits? I hope so.
I often see them washed up along the beach here where I walk by the house, and I love to kneel and study them closely. Tempting as it is to touch their soft, gel-like skin, I resist. Even in this weakened state, they can offer quite a zippy sting that is officially referred to as, “seldom fatal.” I don’t care for those two words next to each other.
In life these jellies are magnificent and graceful creatures; in death, they remain beautiful as the sunlight reflects deep oranges and maroons from their weakening bell. Unnaturally upturned edges plead to the sky, as the rocks below coax them gently to the shore with each wave. It’s inspiring to witness a creature that’s as gorgeous in death as it is in life.