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I live on the ocean, write women's fiction, love to read so much that it's an addiction rather than a hobby (I read an average of a book a day). I live on the wet west coast so it's a good thing that I like to walk in the rain.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A Day at the Aquarium

In the last few weeks, I've spent two days at the aquarium - one at my hometown aquarium here in Vancouver where the picture of the sea otter was taken and one at the aquarium in Atlanta.

There's something about the aquarium - whether here or there - that fascinates me. First of all, it's incredibly erotic. Fish and jellyfish and sea cucumbers and water and ... well, you get the picture. Everything is so lush and colorful and everything, including the coral and other vegetation, moves with grace and sensuality.

So there's that about it. But there's also the sensation of being in another world, an alien world, filled with mysterious creatures. And to me that world is even more alien than the world of UFOs, perhaps because it's right here on our planet and we know so little about it, and it's so difficult to get to.

Another thing that fascinates me is how many of these creatures look right back at you through that glass as if they're examining you in exactly the same way you are examining them. We have beluga whales here in Vancouver and they might almost be human - big roly-poly humans with as much curiosity about us as we have about them.

I could spend days at an aquarium but I'd recommend both of these aquariums - they're different but they're both amazing.

Atlanta is huge - the tanks are so big it's an insult to call them tanks, but it's also beautifully laid out and I'd be happy to spend days there. What did I love the most? I think the jellyfish and the big auditorium room where you can sit on the steps and watch the fish go by - I'd like to write in that room.

Vancouver is much smaller - but it contains creatures I know, creatures I see all the time, so they feel like friends to me. Sea otters and salmon and starfish and harbor seals. I see them right outside my door and so when I see them in the aquarium, I just say hi, like I would when I see them on the beach or in the water.

Aquariums are inspiring. They're entertaining. They're educational. They're relaxing. Yes, they're incredibly erotic. But most of all, though, they're beautiful. It's the same experience I get when I go to an art museum - awe and joy and passion.


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