The dolphin holds my final digraph

I have always loved dolphins; truth be told there aren’t many animals I don’t appreciate, but the fun dolphins have and the glee they exhibit is something extraordinary. They just take pleasure in being…!

Over the years I have seen dolphins behind a ferry cruising from one Greek island to another; frolicking out at sea off various beaches around Australia and even dipping and flipping behind the boat that brought me to Australia dozens of years ago.

But my best and most up close encounters came late last year, in our local river that runs through many of our city’s suburbs. A biking and walking track extends around most of the river’s banks on each side. I use it frequently. It’s a great way to exercise, meditate on writing, listen to podcasts and observe nature.

One afternoon I approached a small footbridge across a narrow part of the river close to many fancy apartments and a few cafes towards the end of my walk, before turning back to retrace my steps. I noticed a couple of people walking down to the water’s edge and pointing at something. Suddenly a fin broke through the surface of the water. It took my breath away. Because I live in Australia my first reaction was ‘shark’! We have shark patrols on all our beaches and people get mauled and eaten by sharks occasionally, but the warnings are frequent all summer, with helicopters blasting an ear splitting siren to warn swimmers whenever a fin is spotted.

Then I realised, it’s a dolphin, as its steely grey back rose shimmering and smooth above the surface and then disappeared below. I stood on the little footbridge and it swam right underneath me (about six feet below). I could not believe my luck, as I turned and watched it surface on the other side. It swam towards the concrete side that supported the river bank just there and swivelled in a half circle, almost above the water on its side. It was on its right side as it turned and its mouth and one eye, well, they might be fixed in that expression permanently, but it was definitely GRINNING at me!

I don’t know how much dolphins play to the crowd and appreciate an audience and it only had limited spectators that day, but this one was totally enjoying itself, as it swished back under the bridge and out into the middle of the river. I think there were three of them altogether but the others remained mainly in the background until they slowly swam away and disappeared.

The footbridge is just to the right of this photo so the dolphin really ‘came to town’!
I missed all the spectacular shots as I was so surprised!

When I got home I discovered there is a pod of dolphins living in and around the river, maybe about twenty to thirty of them. But some people have been here all their lives and never seen one so I felt very privileged.

A month or so later I was standing on the water’s edge, checking out a couple of black swans and their two cygnets when a fin again came into my line of vision, moving very slowly and just dipping below the surface, as the water was obviously quite shallow there, so no room for acrobatics.

Cruising close to the shore
I was watching the swans and their cygnets when I spotted the dolphin.

I wondered if it was the same dolphin I’d spotted by the footbridge, the location was different, but not that far away.

In the local Khasi language, the ‘ph’ sound is pronounced as a soft ‘p’ sound, so it takes a while for students to get accustomed to the ‘f’ sound of ‘ph’. It comes up in early vocabulary in words like ‘phone’, ‘elephant’, ‘dolphin’ and ‘photo’.

This is my third year of slicing and I have so appreciated this community of writers and their encouragement and comments! Even though I live so far away from everyone, I’ve been able to feel connected through the common bonds of writing and teaching. Thanks to all involved and especially to those who organise this every year. It is so worthwhile.

I’m going to close with some more wild orchids from Western Australia (these were exhibits at a show and not in the wild like the last one) and, because Fran Haley mentioned them in her final post, a magnolia that graced our table for a few short days in all its superb finery.

A spider orchid
Love these soft mauve hues
magnolias are magnificent!

18 thoughts on “The dolphin holds my final digraph

  1. Having dolphins appear in your post today is a fitting end to the month. Dolphins bring such joy to us, the way this community of writers does. Thank you for being here, for sharing so many beautiful stories, especially those celebrating young women, and for being so generous with your reciprocity. Peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dolphins are amazing. We’re in whale-watching peak season here, and to see them cavorting provides an unmatched lift. I. like you, have just completed my third year as a Slicer and echo 100% your gratitude. I have loved traveling through the world alphabetically. with your posts. Who knew it could be so wonderful!

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  3. Dolphins are magnificent and a cause for celebration. Thank you for your stories connected to letters (and digraphs), grounding us in the power of sounds and symbols. Put together, there is so much power. Take care and keep writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Seeing a dolphin is an exciting and happy moment that you’ve written so well. The photos are gorgeous, too. This challenge brings people from far apart places together through writing, and we discover things we have in common and intriguing differences in our experiences. It makes March a great month.

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  5. You have quite a wonderful body of work from this month, with your structure of the alphabet plus digraphs as a way to tell your stories. (I do think you should compile, print it somehow.) I have enjoyed entering your sweet classroom and your teaching life and your country this month. Thanks also for being my reader. I hope we will connect next March as well!

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  6. Dolphins and digraphs and beautiful flowers. What a wonderful way to end the month! I hope you’ll keep writing during the year, and I love Fran’s idea of compiling this month’s slices in some way.


  7. YOUR MAGNOLIA! It IS magnificent! What an absolute joy to come here and discover it! Thank for that. As to dolphins – they are such enchanting creatures. I’ve seen them frolicking at the beaches here in NC, and they’ve traveled by a ferry I rode to one of the islands. They’re definitely playful and enjoy interacting with people — and I believe grinning at us, yes! Once I dreamed of swimming in a sea at dusk – I could see the shoreline and knew I still had a way to go, and a dolphin (maybe two) came to escort me. It was utterly comforting. Thank you for every bit of exotic beauty you’ve shared each day – I have treasured it all. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks again for all your affirmations throughout this month and I’m glad you enjoyed the magnolia (I realised I didn’t say it was from a friend’s tree, not ours unfortunately) Your dream sounds fascinating, would love a dolphin eescort!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I will never forget the time I was on a boat and a pod of dolphins started swimming and jumping along side of us. It was one of the biggest thrills of my life. I can only imagine how amazing it would be to have one playing with you while you stood on the bridge. That’s what I’m convinced they are doing–playing. First they tell their friends: Watch this. I’m going to make that person oooo and ahhh! And then they go do it…because who can see a dolphin and NOT oooo and ahh? Such great photos! Congrats for making it to the end of the SOL challenge and thanks for all the thoughtful posts on my blog. See you next year!

    Liked by 1 person

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