Written and spoken by Barbara Lewis. With background music and vocals by Barbara Lewis
You can listen to this story while you read. Click the arrow below and follow along with the Dolphin Dream Story.
The song you hear in the background is one of my bestsellers named, DOLPHIN DREAM.
Listen and buy it here: “Dolphin Dream.”
WE YEARN FOR MORE MEANINGFUL TIMES IN OUR LIVES…
Times when we are able to reach out beyond our fragile bodies with their multitudes of complaints; to feel free of worries and doubts; to experience what many of us wish our lives could contain more of – the healing power of wonder.
A deeper connection with Nature can offer this. And dolphins, especially, have been a source of great wonder and rejuvenation for many people.
These intelligent, ancient beings with their smiling “faces,” who are said to help humans in trouble are often thought of as magical and as “healers.” At any rate, many people desire to be in their presence, to know them better and to be changed by them.
I am no exception. My first powerful contact with dolphins happened a few years ago in Florida with my late-husband, Nicholas. We had gone through a difficult winter and spring and we hoped our short beach stay would rejuvenate both our bodies and our spirits.
Shortly after our arrival, we walked alone at sundown on a long stretch of white sandy beach. It was hot, even for a summer evening on Captiva Island – around 97 degrees. The humid air shimmered with heat.
We watched transfixed as a Great Blue Heron, tall and slender, strode down the sand to stand just a foot away from us. It turned and looked gravely out to sea. We followed its gaze and saw several dolphins glide in close to shore. The ocean water was still, like an enormous, quiet lake. The dolphins were very near – their eyes bright and curious.
They watched us. We watched them. Time seemed to stand still. I felt an extraordinary sense of pleasure, of exhilaration. I did not think the dolphins had come to heal me. Nor did I wonder if they had chosen us as the receivers of some mystical message.
If dolphins do have healing powers, I suspect those powers emanate from a source beyond the dolphins themselves. I think, in part, we have such powerful experiences with these unique creatures because they stir in us the feeling that we are not alone as intelligent beings on this planet. And it is a great source of delight to gaze into the eyes of another life form that appears to be as richly curious as our own. At least, that is what occurred to me that summer evening on the beach.
Dolphins certainly are intelligent. Although their mental abilities are likely quite different from our own. Rachel Smolker, a 20-year veteran of well-documented wild dolphin research who studied many of the same dolphin individuals over those two decades, wrote a remarkable book about her experiences called, To Touch a Wild Dolphin: A Journey of Discovery with the Sea’s Most Intelligent Creatures. In answer to the question, what is it we see when we look into the eye of a dolphin? – she answers: “It is an eye that seems somehow familiar even as it defies description – one that appraises, reserves judgment, watches intently, weighs and considers, infers and understands.” An eye that can “recognize when its gaze is met by another, similarly complicated and sentient being.”
Smolker tells a very poignant story about a storm that devastated the beach at Monkey Mia (in Australia) where she lived in a trailer while studying the dolphin families that populated the local ocean waters.
Her boat had been flung ashore by the storm and among other things she had lost her precious bag of tools. Not long after the storm, when it was safe to resume work, she put on flippers, snorkel and mask and waded into the ocean to join a young dolphin that she had named Holly, who had come into the bay in a languid mood.
The two swam peacefully together for awhile, Smolker hugging Holly as they moved out into deeper waters. Later, the dolphin disappeared under the water. Smolker watched Holly diving deep and thought the duo swim was over. But soon after, Holly reappeared carrying a heavy plastic bag in her mouth, which she gave to her human companion, before swimming off. When Smolker opened the bag, she found that it contained the tool kit from her boat that had been swept overboard during the storm.
It is these kinds of stories, and there are many, that galvanize interest in meeting dolphins. But I think there is another powerful element involved in our attraction to these creatures – that of the primal pull of the ocean itself.Just the words “ocean view” can bring on waves of longing to many over-whelmed, land-locked humans. And who has not daydreamed – visualized themselves walking along a sun-warmed beach in bare feet, looking out to the vastness of the constantly-changing seascape? The dream itself can bring pleasure and relief. The ocean is that powerful.
Children, too, write about their longing to spend a day at the beach… and their great hope of seeing, yes, dolphins. Here is what one 9-year old girl writes: “I can’t wait for the summer when I can go to the beach, play, fly my kite high up over the sand, search the ocean with my binoculars for whales and dolphins and drink a super cold iced tea. What fun! Then I come home smelling like the ocean and the wind….”
Dolphins are at home in this ocean of mystery which may have been the birthplace of humankind as well. Surely part of their huge appeal is this deep sense of ancient resonance that we feel when we are in their presence, particularly when we meet them “in the wilds.”
And therein lies the healing of the spirit. The renewed hope. The knowledge that there is still much more wonder to experience on this beleaguered planet.
The aftermath of my own meeting with dolphins on that magical evening was truly a renewing of the spirit and a return of creative energy. I began to write a musical journey about a woman who rediscovers her visionary powers – “Hara’s Quest.” And of course, dolphins were going to play a pivotal role in her long search for “home.”