by Ruth Minshull
My friends were visiting me at the Gulf front condo in Florida where I was spending my winter vacation. We were standing on the deck admiring the glittering emerald green sea and the dazzling white sand, when I told them, “Sometimes we see groups of dolphins go by, right out here in front of the place.” “Really?” the husband responded with interest. “Yes. They come quite close to the shore too. There might be just a few of them, but occasionally I’ve seen as many as 40 or 50 spread out over a half-mile or so.” “Amazing. I wish I could see that,” he said. “Maybe I should call them for you. They might come by.”
They both laughed. “It would be nice if we could do such things,” his wife said.
“Well, I try it now and then,” I said, “and I’ve had pretty good luck. They don’t always show up, but they come just often enough to make me wonder if they could be responding to my thoughts. I believe I heard somewhere that they might be telepathic.”
“Uh huh,” he murmured. They were both looking at me as if they thought I had a serious gap in my personal ozone layer. I could almost hear them thinking, We’d better humor her. She could be dangerous.
I dropped the subject, which seemed to give them a great deal of relief. We went in and dressed to go out to dinner and no one mentioned it again.
They left the following morning, and an hour later the dolphins came–a group of ten or fifteen. I stood on the deck and admired them as they undulated slowly along the shoreline. As always, I was thrilled to see these delightful aquatic acrobats–although I was sorry my friends had missed the sight.
I started thinking about my visitors. Quite religious people, they wouldn’t miss a Sunday service. But faith is a peculiar business, I realized. It’s quite selective.
My friends have no trouble believing that they can talk with God–and that He listens. But they can’t conceive of the idea that I might be able to communicate with the dolphins. I can’t say I blame them.
There are many notions that require our belief, rather than our acceptance of provable facts (math, science, etc.). The older I get, the less inclined I am to embrace ideas that demand that I believe in them. In most cases I simply don’t–notions such as angels, flying saucers, channeling, honest politicians and diets that work.
But if I were going to believe in intangible, unprovable matters, I would embrace every religion, because we need the sense that there is a grand design, that someone is in charge.
I would believe in reincarnation because it comforts me, because it presumes that I am a spirit (not that I have a spirit), that I am immortal and that only this body is temporary. And death would not be serious, but merely a pause to change costumes before the next scene begins.
And I would believe that dolphins are telepathic and would come because I called them.
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© Ruth Minshull 2013