Whales on a Beach

Our visiting English friends were telling us about their trip to France – to Nice, where the man bought at a flea-market a magazine illustration -– a drawing, or a lithograph -- from the 1920's. It showed a pod of whales which had beached near Cochin. A crowd of people had gathered around, garlanded them with flowers, and were worshipping them.

I can imagine the hugeness, mystery and beauty of the great creatures. One might wish to cover them with flowers. But, of course, then what? What happened when they died and began to rot? A Buddhist might draw profound conclusions about the impermanence of all things, including the gods; but would the people on the spot, from villages round about, be so philosophical? Would they simply call it a case of mistaken identity and go about their work? I do know, from experience, that those who wish to believe, do so. Setbacks, major or minor, don’t seem to cause much trouble.

Nothing profound to say here, just that the image keeps haunting me.

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