The Humpback whales are revered by landfarers for the combustion of their aerial visitations and by the calligraphies of their fluke patterns. Long have I pondered their demonstrations of culture, of a kingdom untaxed by ego and economics. Of the songs unique to mating populations, mnemonic devices and rhythm are demonstrated in ornate hymns ranging from 40 to 4,000 hertz.
Of their protection of their calves and kin, Humpback whales like Pleiades detect the distant calls of orcas and intervene in the hunts of porpoises and seals in displays of inadvertent altruism. Of their grasp on mortality, Humpback whales have been noted visiting seamounts where the remains of relatives lay 1,000 meters below on the sea floor, far beyond their diving depth of 200 meters. Are these emblems of a pure, primordial culture, or more akin to nations amongst the stars?
D. SWENSON COLLECTION