Rev. Jill Cowie
Share the Treasure
by Jill Cowie on February 24th, 2017

​ My husband Ben, a marine biologist told me the Rights Whales are on their way back to the Gulf of Maine.  I downloaded the free “Whale Alert” app and saw the song of one whale had lit up one buoy in the Boston Harbor Shipping Lanes.  Just knowing they are there reminded me of the day I spent counting Right Whales from a four seat plane over Cape Cod Bay.   As we flew, 1,000 feet over the perfectly calm water, I was reminded of a folktale called The Perfect Globe.
The folktale tells of how once, long ago there was this tiny globe, just a few feet in diameter, which was kept safe in a museum.  It held so much mystery and beauty that people came from miles and miles just to see it.   And there it was a delicate sphere in space, looking different at every angle. Sometimes you could see big pools of water in it, and smaller flows of water feeding into the big pools.  There were bumps too, some big bumps, with white tops, and some smaller with gentle bumps. 
I thought of this tiny globe as we gained elevation from the Plymouth airport and saw the small and big pools of water.   Duxbury Bay, nearly drained at very low tide, was a vast expanse of mud flats.  The coastal ponds seemed swollen in comparison, and my eye searched the malachite green for the bottom of their depths.   But then, we left the land and the Cape Cod Bay, the southern portion of the Gulf of Maine stretched out before us.
It was an extraordinary day.  One-fourth of our world’s endangered Right whales (79 of 350) were off our coast feeding on copepods.  My husband works for Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and I was helping him film the whales and to document how close to ships they were.  The Sanctuary had placed real-time whale detection buoys in the Boston shipping lane that bisect the Sanctuary, and all of them had been activated by Right Whale calls.    
As we flew over this part of the bay, known for its rich diversity in marine animals and plants, the water seemed to come to life.  The white sides of dolphins flashed like beacons, and their brief small blows brought the water to life like inverse rain.  Finback whales methodically made their way, blowing and arching at predictable and consistent intervals.  A Humpback, silhouetted under water by the white barnacles on its body seemed suspended in the jewel green of the bay, and I felt as if I could reach down and hold it in the palm of my hand.
And we saw the right whales, waving their tail flukes over and over as if they were answering the beckoning arm of Cape Cod.    My heart seemed to pause with time as their magnificent blows shot up like geysers, suspend for a moment then disappear.  The calm water they left behind after surfacing spoke to ancient times untouched by current day threats.
As we flew above this all, I felt like I was in that museum of ancient days, marveling with wonder and awe at this tiny treasure of our ocean.    I joined the people in the story who felt wisdom and healing after seeing their perfect globe. The ancient story ends sadly, the tiny globe dies as people stopped coming to the museum.  So I write to you to share the awe and wonder and change the ending of the story.   Listen and track the whales at   Share the treasure.

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