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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ancient Mystery

Haole’s blood slowly began to unfreeze as he stared upwards, still unable to take his gaze off of that huge eye. There was no way that he could form any words yet. The Narwhal must have been at least seventy feet long, with a huge, wide and powerful tail. Its skin was a rough, mottled dark blue-gray and there was no dorsal fin upon its enormous, wide back. The absence of that dorsal fin, which all other whales have, allowed the Narwhal to swim for miles and miles underneath the thick Antarctic ice. But the most amazing feature was a single tremendous, twisted, white horn like that of a unicorn, growing out from the center of its face to a length of fifty feet or more, which it uses to break open the winter ice that covers the ocean surface of its home.
Now, my esteemed readers, I’m sure that some of you already have begun to doubt that such a creature really exists and have already gone to look it up in a book about whales or to ask your teachers, and I’m certain that some of you have already found photos of real Narwhals – because they are oh-so-real - and I would never lie to you. But, you see, my readers, the Narwhals in the photos of your books are so much smaller than the whale that I have described (just scarcely bigger than a dolphin) that I feel the need here to pause and tell you (assure you) that, although people don’t like to admit it, and although books will claim to know everything and science will act as if there are no more mysteries left on this beautiful planet of ours - There are things we still do not know! This is the truth!
The oceans cover two-thirds of our planet! The water is as much as twenty nine thousand feet deep in places! The oceans contain mountain ranges underwater and deserts and endless rolling hills and plateaus and miles upon thousands of miles of unexplored waters hidden beneath the dark ice of the Arctic and Antarctic. We as people are sometimes so sure that we know all about everything, and we put all of our children in school to teach them as if what we teach them is everything there is to know and everything that is worth knowing – but this simply is not true. The world contains mysteries still deep enough to evade us for a long time yet. Perhaps forever. Even though we have microscopes, telescopes, computers, satellites with infra-red imaging and so many more seemingly infallible tools, there are still many things we do not know and have not yet seen. The Southern Narwhal is one of those things. Now, the Northern Narwhal, just as you have probably seen in books, is small like a dolphin (not that dolphins are small – they can be twelve feet long!). But deep in the Antarctic Ocean lives the ancient cousin to these modern northern Narwhals and these incredible beasts are huge. Left over from a time when the world’s oceans were colder, during the last ice age, these animals used to swim over the entire globe. Science has never proven the existence of these animals and you will not find a picture of them in any book – but I believe they still swim beneath the ice and range through the frigid water of the Antarctic. There was a time, oh my dears, when the planet was covered with ice over much of its surface and the Narwhal was king. Their memories go back much longer than other animals and their knowledge of the oceans is as deep as the deepest dark ocean trenches.

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