From as far back as I can remember, I was fascinated with fish. From spending hours with my grandmother in front of the Koi pond where she lived, to random pet goldfish, I loved the tranquility fish brought to everyday existence. My folks liked neon tetras and had a tank full of them. Somehow, I don’t know if it started out as food for the tetras, or if this was a sidebar to the aquarium, but, our family raised guppies. I still don’t know when this started or for what reason, but I remember we had a fish tank full of them. And when we moved away, we had to give them away to the neighbor girls, Nina, Tina and Lina.
Watching Jacques Cousteau on television was an event in our house, and my father would collect issues of National Geographic magazine which featured marine life. I would thumb through these in awe, being careful to not bend the pages of this slick, colorful spectacular cataloging of fish pictures. Somehow while I was too young to understand the value of the sea, I knew that it was really important to honor everything in it.
Back in the 70s when I was growing up, there was a place which opened up back in the early 1950s called Hanna Barbera’s (yes, of the Flintstones animation fame) Marineland of the Pacific. It was located in the Palos Verdes Peninsula and was the pre-cursor theme park to Sea World (actually Sea World purchased it and moved the marine life South). This was my first ‘sea life’ experience. From the touch pools with the starfish and sea urchins, I was finally able to see ‘live and in person’ the very things I saw on a Davey & Goliath episode rerun of “Jeep in The Deep.” As Davey sang “It’s a great big, wonderful world we live in….” seeing the ‘whole other world’ under the sea, it made me ponder the question if there was any communication going on in the community we humans frequent.
What if fish could talk? I had seen Flipper speak on TV, but rarely fish communicate, though I had suspected they had a language all their own. I wondered if fish could talk, would they say, we need to become more educated about where they live. Maybe they would say by destroying where we live, we also destroy where they live. Fish don’t have any other option, they have to live in water. Today, as we examine the horrific oil spills over the years a la Exxon Valdez and notice that our ocean waters are contaminated by thoughtless individuals and corporations, I have to wonder what the fish would say today.
As we watch the on-going effects of Global Warming, acid rain, over-fishing … perhaps this is why the fish are speechless?
Are there no more words and are words pointless from their perspective because no one is paying any mind to the idea that if we protect our precious ocean, the ocean giveth back?
If indeed they could talk, they would beg for us to ‘wake up’ and smell the sea water. The ocean is full of beauty, wonder and yes, precious resources to provide endless health benefits to nourish our bodies with seaweed, kelp and minerals and be of benefit to other creatures on our planet as well. The ocean isn’t just full of waves, it’s the wave of the future. Wakeup California, this ‘water shortage’ you keep speaking of … I have ONE WORD for you, D-E-S-A-L-I-N-I-S-A-T-I-O-N.
If the fish could talk, they would say if we planted more trees instead of creating a concrete jungle, we’d improve the atmosphere and it would improve the air, sucking up more C02 pollutants which would in turn, improve the water quality of the ocean. The place fish call “home” would be less acidic, because there wouldn’t be gas dissolving into the ocean from the air.
If fish could talk, would they also sing Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy Mercy Me” song:
Woo ah, mercy mercy me Ah things ain't what they used to be, no no Where did all the blue skies go? Poison is the wind that blows from the north and south and east Woo mercy, mercy me, mercy father Ah things ain't what they used to be, no no Oil wasted on the ocean and upon our seas, fish full of mercury Ah oh mercy, mercy me Ah things ain't what they used to be, no no Radiation under ground and in the sky Animals and birds who live nearby are dying Oh mercy, mercy me Ah things ain't what they used to be What about this overcrowded land How much more abuse from man can she stand? Oh, na na... My sweet Lord... No My Lord... My sweet Lord