Beluga Whale Hits the River

Wonders never cease. Just when those in our area of the Delaware River were beginning to recover from the recent floods, a whale arrives to shake things up.

A 15-foot Beluga whale-now identified as named "Helis" and hailing from the St. Lawrence Estuary in Canada--has been spotted swimming up and down the water near Trenton, New Jersey. Passersby gathered to spot the beautiful creature today. Although I wasn't among those to who saw him, a few lucky neighbors spotted him making playful splashes.

All this talk about whales had made me wonder what made this lone traveler (who if he is true to his breed, usually migrates in pods of two to 25) choose to get so off-course to take a 125-mile detour away from the sea, a 800-mile detour from home.

Everyone has ideas. Perhaps the flooding, some say. Perhaps the plentiful herring and shad in these parts, say others. But no one really knows for sure. Except the whale.

I can relate. Sometimes I get off-course too. Whether it's worrying about what others think, watching the signs "out there" rather than tuning inward, or simply going with the flow-sometimes too much so-occasionally in my life I have looked around and wondered, "Now how the heck did I get here?"

Whether you call them epiphanies, hitting rock bottom or great awakenings, our detours, however painful, give our lives their character.

Sometimes wrong turns can be great adventures, giving us clarity and new ideas. Often, they give us the opportunity to shed our skins and begin anew, a surprising benefit freshwater has on beluga whales, experts say. Occasionally, they take us to places more incredible than our wildest dreams, just by "accident."

So, I say to the Beluga, whatever your reason for being here, be it a personal adventure, wrong turn, or perhaps even a blessing to those like me who needed to look at their surroundings a bit differently--follow your soul home, my friend.

May you be safe, well, and enriched somehow by being one of the few-if not the only-of your kind to have ever traveled these waters.

(c) 2005 Laurie Smith

Laurie Smith is an inspirational writer and workshop facilitator. She speaks at schools, organizations and corporations to kids and adults on creating the lives of their dreams. To read more articles like this, check out her blog at">


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