A Whale of an Inspiration

You just never know where or when inspiration will strike. Or what might be the source of inspiration. How about a whale. Or three?

Three dying whales named Fred, Wilma and Bam-Bam. I watched the movie, Big Miracle recently; a movie inspired by a true story about whales. Three of them. Imagine that.

Set up in northern Alaska at the end of the Cold War, where it’s cold as cold, in more ways than one, three California Grey Whales were trapped under the ice of the Arctic Circle. On their own, they could not pass through an ice barrier and follow their usual migration route, from Barrow, Alaska to the warmer waters of southern California. Without human intervention, these whales would meet a terrible fate.

In the efforts to save the whales, the competing interests of the media vs. the locals; the oil drilling industry vs. Greenpeace, and the US vs. Russians all came into play. All major players with high stakes in the game; much like the current presidential campaign.  Everyone had their own interests to protect: ratings, wealth, reputation and mission. Initially unable to see past their own noses, each fought from and for their own perspective, the whales mere pawns in a political game of chess. Moves were made, motivated by who could come out to be seen as the hero, solely to advance their own interests.

At the heart of the film, however, were the family of whales and their plight.  No one wanted the blood of these majestic beings to take place on their watch. What eventually became evident was that no one single group had the solution. It was only through the succession of one failed idea after another, that the next was imagined and implemented. And when that failed, more and more heads started working together, finally starting to see the whales instead of only their bottom line, election returns, newsroom ratings or donation count.

It slowly became obvious that only when forgetting themselves, and working together, could they begin to have a chance of saving Fred, Wilma and Bam-Bam.  And it occurred to me, during the film, what if Fred, Wilma and Bam-Bam were education, restoring our national and state economies, unemployment, peace in warring nations, the homeless, foster kids, etc?

One of the key moments in the film pits the Greenpeace volunteer – word to word, finger pointing to finger pointing – against the oil drilling mogul. Each having taken a swing on the pendulum and landing somewhere center of left and right, they began to see each other’s point, and became invested in the real mission.  With the fate of the whales in their hands, and an ounce of understanding of both what the other wants, and has given up for the cause, they look at each other and say,

It’s not as hard to not hate you as I thought it would be

These ideas were still swimming around in my mind while moving about life’s little routines, and listening to the Avett Brothers cd on the way to work one morning, it felt like the two sides of velcro had come together.

You and I We’re the same  ||  Live and die   || We’re the same   ||  Hear my voice Know my name   || You and I We’re the same

For the whales, it was a matter of whether they would live or die.  It  took everyone to realize that at the end of the day, that to save the whales, they had to realize for at least a moment in time, that they are the same.


15 thoughts on “A Whale of an Inspiration

  1. Thank you, Bonnie. I felt your heart more in this post. It is a beautiful thing. Like a beautiful smile. I love yor blog and posts and I believe I’d love them even more as you share more of your heart and spirit.. Please treat this comment as the compliment I intend it to be. Sometimes my compliments suck.


  2. Well….all the other comments pretty much sum this up well. I hope your forwared to both of our candidates….”why can’t we all just get along???” ♥ Great job, my Bonnie ~


  3. Oh what we could accomplish in the world if we could only work together. My values, my principles, my political preferences…my my my….nothing, but NOTHING, is taken nor given away by listening to and working with those with their own my my mys. If we all say we want what’s best…then let’s start acting like we want what’s best. This is a wonderful post Bonnie, and I wish it were on a billboard, thousands of billboards. xo


  4. Such a wise post, Bonnie. We oftentimes get so entrenched in “defending our position” that we lose sight of what really mattered about that position in the first place and it just becomes a turf war for the sake.of defending turf. Sad….haven’t seen the movie, but will be rectifying that soon. 🙂


    • Lori, thank you so much! I hope you will let me know when you watch the movie…I think you will like it, alot. And we do, so often, get entrenched. Imagine if we all just stepped out periodically… wow. xo


  5. Oh I watched The Big Miracle on dvd some weeks ago with my husband and we thought it was such an excellent movie! We too were struck by the dedication of that one Greenpeace activist, that one journalist, the tireless dedication of the locals and the impact it had on the local community. I really thought it made an excellent study of sociology on so many levels.

    “And it occurred to me, during the film, what if Fred, Wilma and Bam-Bam were education, restoring our national and state economies, unemployment, peace in warring nations, the homeless, foster kids, etc” And that is such a worthwhile thought to pursue. If we could put our differences aside. Profit making. Partisanship. And work for the common good. Then I think mankind would have reached a level of maturity which sets us apart from even the most intelligent creatures of the animal kingdom. Thank you for your wonderful post, Sharon


    • Sharon, I am so glad you have seen the film recently too, and could draw the same inferences. Thank you so much for your kind words and for sharing that you found something that resonates with you here. I agree with what you say, about reaching a new level of maturity that could truly set us apart. Fantastic add to the conversation.


  6. I read ‘three whales dying’ and I’m already in tears..By the time I finished your post, I was nodding – the two pieces of velcro adhering in my mind as well. And how ironic that I am thinking similarly this morning, prompted by the debates and how much more we could accomplish if we celebrated our likeness instead of sparring over our differences. Wonderful post BonBon – now go to sleep..


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