“I'd like to be under the sea
In an octopus' garden in the shade
He'd let us in, knows where we've been
In his octopus' garden in the shade.” (The Octopus’ Garden, the Beatles)
Remember that? I’m sure if you are as old as I am (i.e. “dirt”), you do! The underwater world of Captain Nemo along with “guest” Professor Arronax is captured in stunning language. Verne describes in detail mollusks, algae, corals, fungi, anemones, all in a kaleidoscope of color. His description, in the voice of the Professor about a forest of “perpendicularity” captured my attention. On this particular excursion he described everything, from filaments to large tree-plants as having a “singular position” he had never seen – all reached straight up. If pushed aside, they immediately resumed their former position. As I listened I envisioned these underwater plants stretching their limbs, their full selves, up in praise of creation.
The Discovery Channel offering was phenomenal. In it I saw what a narwhal looks like – it too is mentioned in 20,000 Leagues. In the book, fishing ships believed they had been attacked by narwhals; it was of course the Nautilus. Narwhals are whales with a long pointed tusk! I was captivated by the angel sea slug (although I do NOT care for slugs in my garden). These transparent slugs have little angel wings which they use to propel themselves around. I met penguins too who although they have wings do not fly – and there’s a reason for that: they have no natural enemies on land. (Don’t you love it when things make sense?) Those of us watching also observed the time-lapse photography of a brinicle – an ice stalactite which kills anything which its frozen plume touches. If you have access to the Discovery Channel, I encourage you to seek it out on Sunday night. If you have never read (or listened!) to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, do that too!
In the meantime I am enamored, and would like to be “under the sea, in an octupus’ garden.” What sights there would be in every direction.