Moments of Beauty

Kissing an Octopus

It happened on my final check-out dive to get my SCUBA license. We decided to spend our time with an octopus we had found on a previous dive. As we swam out to it, I thought back to a story our instructor once told us about an octopus he and a student had encountered
outside its den. They approached it slowly, and the instructor showed the student how to pet the octopus on the head. Instead of moving away, the octopus reached out a tentacle, and began stroking the diver in return. The student was moved to tears.

And so I found myself reaching out to touch an octopus. To my delight, it reached back. The feel of my hand aroused its curiosity, and the octopus came out of its den to see me. As I stroked its velvety soft tentacles, I looked into its eyes and pondered our interaction. I realized that great differences are bridged simply by reaching out to touch each other.

When it came time to leave, I reluctantly started to wave goodbye. But a wave didnít express the beauty of our connection, so I removed my regulator and gently kissed the octopus goodbye.

Thundering Hooves

It was an ordinary patch of woods, but we had made it special by visiting it throughout the years. This time we built a fire to ward off the autumn chill. No one was in a hurry, so we stayed and watched the sunlight fade from the treetops. We kept listening even after our conversation had died down. The friendly crackle of the embers was joined by a coyote who howled from just beyond the fire light.

At last we put out the fire and journeyed homeward through the darkness. As we paused in an open field, we heard the sound of many hooves in the distance. Perhaps our coyote friend had startled a herd of elk or deer. The hoof beats grew louder until the herd thundered right by us, hidden in the cloak of night. It is when we stop to listen that Nature speaks to us.

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Updated December 29, 2004