Wednesday, March 2, 2011

J is for Jellyfish

Jellyfish - (song is Come Back When You Can by Barcelona) from Jon Rawlinson on Vimeo. (If the embedded video won't play, click on the title and it will take you to vimeo)

If you watch the above video -- and I think you should, it's lovely -- you should know that the jellyfish exhibit at the Georgia Aquarium, where this was shot, is nothing short of heart stoppingly beautiful in a way that the video doesn't quite capture. I could have stood there for hours.

I love jellyfish.

Jellyfish, as you may or may not know, lack brains. (Literally, as in if there were enough flesh on a jelly to dissect it -- and there mostly isn't -- you would not find a brain in it's -- er, well, it doesn't really have a head either.)

Does the fact that it is a brainless blob of oceanic goo bother the jellies?

Do they look bothered to you? (I know, they don't have faces. Stay with me here.)

The beauty of the jellyfish is this: they're free. They do what they do -- bob about in the currents, moving -- or not -- as it pleases them. If something wanders into the jelly's path, it tries to eat it or defend itself (which for a jelly is the same action, really) but it doesn't go out of its way. It just lives its jelly life. That is its purpose: be a good jellyfish. Don't get eaten. Avoid, if you can, washing up on shore. Eat enough to survive.

It's not complicated when you don't have a brain.

When I watch the jellyfish, I am always struck by how often I make the simple complex. Of course, I possess a brain (usually) but I don't always use it in ways that will enrich my experiences. I use it to mangle them. To worry: where am I going,  what am I doing here, what comes next? While I freely admit that my life isn't -- can't be -- as simple as that of a jellyfish (and I don't think that I would want it to be), I also freely admit that perhaps mirroring their purpose would serve me well.

Be a good person.

Don't get eaten up by the things that are not important.

Avoid, if you can, finding yourself stranded and alone.

Eat enough to survive.

And don't forget the beauty that exists in the most simple of things.

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