A New Year's Omen - Dolphins and Children - Both Magical
By Yvette Vignando - 1st January 2011
I’m sitting at the dining table with a cool breeze blowing on to my face from the lake and ocean. It’s the new year, 2011, and I’m feeling like I always feel on 1 January: expectant, inexplicably and irrationally optimistic about anything that’s been troubling me and suddenly more grateful than usual for the good things in my life. New Year’s Eve does not hold much attraction for me unless it happens to be a great meal with friends but I do look forward to New Year with a magical belief that all things good can happen in the following year. No idea why.
I don’t think of myself as a magical thinker – people that know me will tell you I’m very rational, with a natural tendency to be a bit cynical, but in a diplomatic way... whatever that means! On the other hand, I am incurably curious and very attracted to the idea that there’s some other side to life that has not yet been revealed, some deliciously interesting connection between humans or some unseen force that we are yet to discover. This is why I’m an agnostic, always leaving myself open to the idea that I am about to discover more about life ( ... evangelists, please do not feel encouraged by this).
Most new years we are at the beach and I also look forward to a swim on new year’s day. The first swim of the new year feels like a necessary blessing and ritual to seal in all that irrational optimism and wake me up to all the good things that I just know are on the way. This all probably sounds like I’m a complete fruitcake, I’m not really, most of the time.
But on to the main and brief topic of this post – dolphins – and this will really seal my fate as your fruitcake of the month.
Mr 15 is convinced that one of my main roles in life is to embarrass him, so he was unsurprised when yesterday I leapt up from the sand, and in a slightly louder voice than normal, (Mr 15 would say shouted) alerted the entire beach to the presence of dolphins. Two pods of about ten dolphins were exuberantly and elegantly weaving their amazingly muscular frames in and out of the water just off the swimming beach. I ran to the shore and watched them pass, and in one of my occasional magical-thinking moments, decided that this was a good sign for 2011. Okay, yesterday was still 2010, but it was the last day, so surely that still counts?
When I see dolphins, I feel an exhilaration and happiness that is almost overwhelming in intensity – there is no speaking in tongues but I do feel uplifted and just ridiculously fantastic. I have never swum with dolphins but that is something I’m determined to do one day soon – I even wonder if I can achieve that goal this year. It’s not my new year’s resolution but I’d be elated if I got the opportunity.
And there is something about the way dolphins play and move that also reminds me of young children, and reminds me of the way Mr 9 still moves when he’s happy and excited. Mr 9 of course is far less elegant; there’s more flailing of arms and awkward leaping from the ground but his movements are joyous, unrestrained and contagious in their happiness. And that’s maybe part of why I love dolphins – sure, they’re intelligent and beautiful and graceful but they are also like children. I love them – why? - “I just do” as Mr 9 would say.
I have decided that seeing dolphins on the 31st of December 2010 means a happy 2011 for me – so call me a fruitcake or book me a flight to Western Australia to swim with the dolphins. I wish you also a joyful and amazing new year for 2011 - you can definitely expect some very good things from the happychild website this year.