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  • Writer's pictureWojciech Salski

Fifty-two Hertz Whale

Updated: Apr 28, 2021

Did you hear about the fifty-two hertz whale?

Did you hear about the fifty-two hertz whale asked my friend one day, as we strolled down the coastal path, looking out to the ocean.

I shook my head and squinted my eyes, whose wellbeing was being threatened by the late afternoon sun. My friend waited a moment before continuing, as if building the suspense, before presenting this, what I assumed to be, quite a strange phenomenon. So, he started, waving his hand towards the water and taking a long breath in, the scientists have recently discovered a whale, whose frequency is so different than all the other whales, that it is impossible for it to communicate with anyone else. I savoured the new information, like one does with a sip of a good, old whisky, and glancing at my companion, smiled wow… I bet it must be quite a lonely fellow. We laughed briefly, even though both of us felt for the mentioned creature. Imagine how hard it must be I continued like, if you or I were not able to learn any language at all, even if we were really trying… My friend nodded his head. That’s fucked up he concluded. We continued to walk without talking, each of us considering the fate of the unlucky giant, whose life must have been one of the loneliest one there is. My mind raced, as I tried to comprehend how this kind of situation could take place in nature. Isn’t nature supposed to be perfectly balanced I thought, does that mean there is a whale somewhere out there that can communicate with all kinds of frequencies..? I shared my questionable theory with my friend, and we discussed all the possibilities, including the idea of multiple universes, whales being only an illusion and the prospect of finding a lost civilization, whose pillar of existence depends on the level of frequency of all the swimming giants around. Our conversation meandered through the topic, like a river making its way through forestry area of the globe, pushing through, squeezing between and overcoming the most immaculate obstacles that a nature can create. We laughed quite a bit, arriving once in a while to a conclusion so ridiculous, that even a fifty-two hertz whale seemed like a mundane ‘fun fact’ in the prospect of seeing these ‘ideas’ to come to life. Our talk had no particular order, letting our minds wander, we created new scenarios, possible solutions and challenges, that seemed to be more or less possible in this world, which considering the existence of such a whale, might as well allow any other ‘anomalies’ to have their place. I thought of the hardship of that creature, imagining myself being unable to speak in any language ever; not even sign language or a Morse Code. The prospect of such tragedy drew blood towards my spine and made my back twitch with cortisol levels rising. My mind automatically opposed the possibility of such a misery. I noticed the reaction of the body and tried to loosen up by making out another joke on the whales’ account. I know I thought that’s not too nice, but come on… the whale wouldn’t be able to understand and get upset anyway. Letting ourselves have a few more laughs, we arrived at the pier and made our way towards the water, sitting down on the side of the wooden ‘bridge’ that connected the ocean with the beach. Struggling with the sun, which appeared to be punishing our eyes for the laughs on whales’ account, we sat facing away from it and looked towards the seafront, where many people strolled down the path, having their own little world of conversations. I imagined the life of the whale, who unable to connect with anyone else, roams the words vastest oceans in search for understanding and acceptance. Weirdly enough, I felt a strong empathy to its troubles, reminiscing on all the times, where myself – misunderstood by others, I had to deal with what was, as it unfolded, without anyone’s help or at times understanding. Isn’t each of us sometimes like that whale I said out loud, not planning to and drew attention of my friend to my point of view. He looked at me surprised and was about to laugh, but he stopped. We sat there in silence for a moment, trying to reason with the point made by my mind involuntarily. After a while, my friend nodded his head slightly, as if he didn’t particularly want to, but had no other choice. I guess you are quite right he said. Savouring the concept, we sat there swimming in the mental ocean of thoughts, conclusions and possible alternatives, none of which provided a getaway from the idea that each of us has sometimes felt like that misunderstood whale. I thought of the multitude of people that roam this Earth, everyday dying, coming to life, marrying each other, achieving goals, loosing it all, trying too hard, making a mistake, organising something new, following a well-worn path, and all the other inbetweeners, realising that not one of them could go through their existence without being misunderstood at some point in their life. I thought of our differences in experience, age, thought processes, upbringing, opportunities, luck, attitudes, ideas, wishes, tastes, drives and emotional states, as well as the looks of everyone of this planet. I thought of all that, only to come back to the first assumption, again and again reinforcing the idea that we might have more in common with the fifty-two hertz whale, that we have with any other of the swimming giants out there. Surprised with my conclusions I looked at my friend, whose concerned face seemed to paint a similar picture of acknowledgment of the subject. Our laughs long gone, we appeared sadder than ever before, realising how much ignorance we have presented to each other, when we initially laughed at the fate of this unlucky creature. Speechless, we sat there looking out to the ocean. I thought of the idea that there is a part of every creature in everyone; about the possibility that each existence is a sum of all others added and subtracted in a natural, organised in its randomness, order. I thought of my life, which unfolding without a stop, offered glimpses to existences of other species, people, entities and things. I thought of how sometimes, we might feel like a cheeky fox, when in attempts to beat the system, we cheat on the exam; or how we might sometimes act like an ostrich, whose panicky reaction leads it to hide away from lives’ problems instead of ‘facing the music’. I thought of all the times I felt like a little insect, whose life so fragile, hangs on the thread of reality, whenever upon crossing the street in a busy city, I almost lost my right to exist. Imagining all these scenarios, reminding myself of all the mistakes, shortcomings, achievements, miracles and situations of all kind, that manifested in my journey along the years, I realised that none of us actually gets away with life without facing the problems, that everyone else has faced in one way or another. To my surprise, I felt relieved coming to this kind of conclusion. It felt, as if some weight has been lifted of my shoulders, as I listed all the examples, that proved the argument to be quite true, even if only to certain extent. I sighed out my worries, feeling a little closer with the fifty-two hertz whale and its struggle. My friend noticed my transformation and without saying a word, he seemed to relax a little more as well. We continued our quiet contemplation, staring into the distance, letting our minds wander the realms of ideas, concepts, and conclusions, from which none offered a fully comprehensive outcome. Thinking about the lonely whale, I looked towards the people walking on the shore, living their lives in their own little bubbles of understanding and misconceptions, each of them following a different thought, that echoed through the voids of their consciousness as they continued their endeavour in this realm of ours.

Maybe I thought to myself there is a bit of that whale in each of us… maybe all we do throughout our lives is try to be understood by others… maybe sometimes we achieve that understanding and sometimes we don’t. I smiled to my thoughts as the last one - a conclusive one emerged, maybe all this existence is, is a little rehearsal of what could and couldn’t be and we are all just trying to grasp it as we go.

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