By U Jin Jo, IV Form
Editor’s Note: This reflection is from a STEAM field trip (Studio I Art class + Exploratory Sciences: Land and Sea class) to the New England Aquarium.
The cold air sprays into our visages as we step on board, the excitement barely hidden under our coats. Buildings are still in sight, and the engine seems to beat along with my heart. Airplanes fly high as we sit in silence. The boat slowly drifts against the water’s will, as if it is right where it is supposed to be. It flows with its own stream, with its own rhythm. The engine’s sound is different from its surroundings – more defined, as if to to
reassure its presence. The air is so strong that it seems like an uncontrollable storm. We bundle up as if the wind has instructed us to do so. The more we push against the water’s will, the more the wind pushes back. Trying to stay balanced, we stare at each other mischievously as if we are about to do something dangerous. Finally, the time that we have been waiting for arrives. After about 30 minutes of the bitter, cold boat ride, we see the first whale.
The reflection from the water gives me a thrill, and I am excited that mother nature is still connected to us despite our distractions. I expected the whales to be so brilliant, and so gigantic that I become breathless…
But it is so much more than that. It is something so gentle and quiet that we all have to look closely for them. The whales are so slow and gracious. The moment it uncovers itself above the water is only a mere couple of seconds.
Despite our connection to them, the whales stay much farther from the boat as if they are suspicious of it, of us. Despite their resistance, the boat travels closer and closer to the whales until the whales disappear. When we lose the sight of one, we drift to another section to look for more, and we repeat the same joyous cycle again.
Unfortunately, I notice the pieces of paper–the litter– floating atop the water. They are so much smaller than the whales. Even so, the whales maneuver around the debris as if they are respectful of it.
We pretend we care about the nature; we speak up for whales…Are we really making the changes needed?
Are we just taking advantage of the fact that whales cannot stand up for themselves?
U Jin Jo is a IV Form boarding student from Seoul, South Korea. She lives in Gaccon House and plays ice hockey, rows crew, and loves taking pictures.