When everywhere is home,
You are always home.
Getting lost or not
When travelling, Cedric’s preferred place was on Bluey’s back, in the gap between the big front fin and the smaller, pointy one behind. He would fit in there comfortably. He would have three tentacles on either side. The front fin between two tentacles and the back fin between two tentacles as well.
Just for fun, he would let the two tentacles on either side flap around in the current caused by Bluey’s fast swimming speed. How practical to have six tentacles.
Mind you, travelling itself was not Cedric’s favourite past time at all. Initially, it had been quite some thrill, but this has dwindled considerably because all he could see was a blur. He often wondered who Bluey would manage not to lose orientation.
And if you want to know something: what is the best to do? Curious Cedric would never hesitate to ask.
…“Bluey, why you don’t lose orientation when you go so fast.” Out of his depth, Bluey explained:
…“Ahm, dunno what to say. Ahm. What do you want to know?”
…“Do you ever get lost?”
…“No. Never do. Am I supposed to?”
Cedric found himself in a bit of a conundrum. He asked questions, and Bluey gave answers, but often they didn’t turn out the way he expected. Persistent as he was, he tried again. Now, really simple:
…“How come, you never get lost?”
…“I am always happy where I am. Always food, and sometimes someone to talk to.”
Cedric felt a bit stretched with his patience.
…“What do you see when you swim fast?”
…“Ah, ahm, ahm, I sort of see, where to go to, and whoosh, I am there. Easy as…”
…“And if something gets in your way?”
…“Never has.” And that was final.
Cedric was not happy with this answer. Honestly, Bluey told him, how things are for him, but now why. From experience, Cedric knew, it was good to let things rest for a while and then approach the same question from a different angle. “Yes,” he thought, “how does Bluey know, which way to go? There are no markers and hardly ever was the ground visible.”
…“Yes, Ced, what’s up?”
…“Why do you go one way and not the other?”
…“Cause, one way is easier than the other.”
…“Not sure, one way it goes faster than the other.”
Cedric remembered Sergey showing him how to use the current to travel in the shallow part of the world. It was fun when they got carried along with not much pumping at all. And one could enter the current or leave it, whenever one wanted.
So, he asked Bluey:
…“Is it like the world is moving and it carries with you?”
…“Yep. Precisely. Just like going on a free ride. Love it.”
Now, Cedric was happy. There must be such currents all over the place, not only on the upper shelf.
…“That’s called current, Bluey.”
…“We call it ‘stream’.”
This conversation offered an opportunity for a good laugh, which was well received.
…“Why does it sometimes go cold and sometimes warm, Bluey?”
…“Some streams, sorry, currents, come from the cold part of the oceans and some come from the warm.”
…“Could we stay in the warm parts, please?” Cedric asked.
…“Sure could. Must go soon to the cold part, cause there is more food.”
This was a key word in Cedric’s mind.
…“Don’t wobble too much with your back fin, Bluey. I want to eat some algae from there.”
…“No worries mate. The world is moving fast. We’ll just drift for a while.”
And after a meal always follows a nap. This means, after so much brain-work, there would be stillness around, ‘time of no mind’, for some time, which Bluey much appreciated.
The Shape of the World
One day, the two friends were leisurely drifting along in a warm current, when curious Cedric asked:
…“Bluey, where does this current go? It is warm, does it go where it is warmer?”
…“Nope, the other way round.”
…“It goes to where it is colder? This does not make sense.”
…“Sense or not, that’s how it is. It goes north.”
…“Where? North? What’s that?”
…“Oh dear, what have I started? It’s my own silly fault,” Bluey groaned, more to himself.
…“Listen, you perky scallywag.”
…”The world is a close mesh made up of many circles, all fitting into each other.”
…”It spins, therefore the oceans move.”
…”When you are far away from where it spins, you feel heavy. If you get closer, you get lighter. We are getting lighter. And it’s north, ‘cause there is more food.”
The silence after this long speech was lasting. Cedric was overwhelmed by the large number of words as well as the information. He did not know for a while, how to sort it all out or where to start to think, let alone to ask. Bluey thought quietly: “That’ll shut him up for a while,” and he grinned, gently swaying his back fin.
First Cedric tried to imagine ‘a close mesh of cycles fitting into each other’. This would look like a ball, into which he curled himself sometimes when he was scared or frustrated. So the world would be a ball? Interesting. Starfish never thought about things like that, and if anyone would have asked him a long time ago, and if he had known what the word ‘world’ meant, he would have said: “It’s flat, indubitably.”
How would Bluey know that the world is round?
…“Bluey,” he asked, tentatively, “How do you know that the world is made out of circles?”
…“Cause, gone round it plenty a times, same way. Always came to the same place. Always the same the time.”
…“How do you know?”
…“Cause I return to my birthplace at the same time, every year.”
…“How often did you swim around the world, Bluey?”
…“About thirty times, I guess. Didn’t keep count, never thought it matters.”
Cedric could visualise this and was satisfied. What came next? The oceans move because the world moves. This made some sense. And there are so many ways of moving, like: slow, fast, medium, and very quickly, and only one way of stopping. The world either stops, or it does not. So, most probably, it moves, the movement of the oceans supports this, too.
But how about this getting heavier and lighter? How would this work? He did not want to ask Bluey again, but he got all fidgety.
…“What’s the matter now, Ceddy?”
…“About getting lighter and heavier, how does this work?”
…“Can’t tell – just noticed… Matter of fact – should be other way round, ’cause I’m eating more up there.”
He laughed, and his whole body shook like in a fit, and Cedric had all tentacles full to hang on tightly, and not to get flung off.
There was another drawn out moment of silence, after which Cedric asked really timidly this time:
…“Where are we going now?”
…“North. Haven’t had a good feed for a long time.”
Cedric climbed up to his favourite place between the top fins.
…“Oh well, then,” he said to himself settling in, for a restful afternoon.
And during all this going on, Bluey was casually cruising along, following the strong current towards the North, where the water is colder, as he always did at this time of the year. How he knows this? He has learned to observe the change of the ratio of the light-dark times.
Gills and Water
After a long stretch of time, while both of them followed their own ways of thought or no thought, Cedric arrived at the point in time when the two friends had met. How exciting this had been. And immediately he started:
…“Remember, how we met? It just crossed my mind, and I still wonder what those pink, flabby things are, in the grooves in front of your side flippers.”
…“They are ‘gills’, remember?”
…“Ah, yes, gills. Tell me, what they are good for.”
…“I breathe with them.” Cedric was astonished:
…“Don’t I breathe, ‘cause I have no gills.”
…“I don’t know how you do it, Ced, but somehow, I separate oxygen from the water.”
Cedric made a big eye.
…“I haven’t got a clue what you are talking about.”
…“The stuff that fills up the third… what do you call it? It’s all around us.”
…“See, what I mean?… I don’t know anything about the third… thing. Water is the stuff you push out when you pump.”
Cedric was in deep thought, and Bluey was happy for this type of ‘talking with thinking’ was over. Cedric recalled his first attempt trying to get into his green shell and when something had been preventing him from getting inside. And when he went sidewards, as Henry had suggested, this something was whooshing past him, towards the outside of the shell.
And when he tried first to pump. All this stuff escaped between his tentacles until he learned how to seal them. Yes, now this made all so much more sense.
…“What did you call it?” Cedric almost shouted.
…“What?” Bluey had been cruising leisurely along, thinking of food. He had forgotten the conversation, already.
…“That stuff the third dimension is filled up with.”
…“Water, water, water,” Cedric repeated.
He did not know why, but for some reason, he considered this ‘water’ thing of vital importance. Reiterating it would help him remember it.
…“Water, water, water. Thanks, Bluey, I think, I got it.”
…“My pleasure, Ced.”
Dear Bluey was always hopeful, this mind stuff would be over, now; he was wrong again. After a few minutes of sorrowful percolation of this new information, Cedric was back again. He had crawled forward, down from his favourite place between the top fins and was now sitting on Bluey’s nose. It was not very comfortable there, but he knew, this was the best way to keep Bluey’s attention.
…“And what was the other stuff you were talking about?”
…”What you separate from the water.”
…“Oxygen,” it came back, short and promptly, indicating that he really did not want to talk at the moment. Cedric appeared unwitting of this:
…“Can you say this again? Please?”
Bluey sensed some worries looming ahead when Cedric continued:
…“Aha. And what is this o–xy–gen good for?”
…”I don’t breathe,” Cedric postulated with surety. Referring to the last, much simpler question, Bluey sternly replied:
…“All living beings breathe. They would be dead, otherwise.”
Bluey held his breath hoping that Cedric would not ask about living and dying. And thank goodness, like most young beings would choose, he went on asking about the other subject, namely, ‘breathing or not’. This topic turned central, and many other pertinent questions fell by the wayside, like: What is oxygen? How does oxygen get into the water? What happens to oxygen once it is breathed in?
To cut a long story short; eventually, they agreed: all being would breathe, but they have different ways. And Cedric’s assignment was, to explore the way he was breathing.
Over this important task, questions such as: “Why beings would breathe differently? Or, why do beings need to breathe at all?” were overlooked. As you all know well, thinking makes hungry, which brought it all to a happy ending.
Bluey was mentally overexerted and seriously needed some prolonged ‘no mind time’. And in a quiet corner of his head, he was proud of himself that he had been able to carry on with this ‘mind talking’ for such a long time. The things we do for our friends.
Some other day, some other place, this conversation took place:
…“Yes, Ced, what’s up?”
…“Blue Tuna are the fastest fish, you told me if I remember correctly. How come?”
…“I am not so sure about the fastest, but pretty fast we are.” There was a connotation of pride in his voice.
…“How come?” Cedric insisted.
…“I guess, we have been around for the longest. Had plenty of time to practise.” Bluey replied with a shrug and a grin. Still, Cedric wanted to know more:
…“But how do you do it?”
…“Ahm. I do nothing. I just wanna go somewhere, and whoosh, there I am.”
…“You told me that before.”
…”But that’s all there is. Whoosh.”
…”But it doesn’t tell me how you do it.”
…“Can’t tell you, sorry mate.”
…“You have to concentrate.”
This time, he was not prepared to let Bluey get away with any vague comments. Much to Cedric’s surprise, Bluey asked:
…“What – concentrate?”
…“In your head, your mind, inside you.”
…“What do you think, right now?”
…“I can’t, I’m confused,” Bluey mumbled.
…“Nothing to worry about, Bluey. It’s not that hard.”
Calmly he continued:
…”Remember when you told me about the world being a close mesh of circles, all fitting into each other?”
…“Then, you were thinking.”
…“So, what do you think right now?”
…“I am not hungry at the moment. Some small urge to go north. And I worry about you.”
…“Good. I mean, good, about thinking, not that you are worried about me.”
…“Ok, good,” Bluey was relieved.
Cedric saw them getting somewhere:
…“Where does this thinking happen?”
…“Inside or outside of you?”
…“Excellent, Bluey. That’s where you concentrate.”
…“Ah. What for?”
…“So you can find out, how you can swim so fast.”
…“Why would I need to know?”
…“So that you can tell me.”
A bit stunned, Bluey was wondering, why Cedric would want to know this. There is no point him knowing because he was a seastar the information would be of no use to him. Cedric seemed so adamant. Hence, Bluey kept his ears peeled.
Cedric went on:
…“It’s also useful for discovering something. It made me discover that I have six tentacles.”
…“What difference does it make, five or six tentacles?” Bluey countered a bit annoyed.
…“Made a big difference to me. Without thinking, I would not have learned to pump and all that happened after, like meeting you, would not have happened.”
Without awaiting Bluey’s possible reply, Cedric instructed:
…“Ok then. Next: close your eyes.”
…“Haven’t got any eyelids,” Bluey sounded stubborn.
…“Oh, ahm, very sorry, Bluey, that makes it a bit harder.”
…”Mmm.” Bluey saw a slight chance of getting out of this debacle.
…”Do you have another way to go inside?”
…”Nope. All full with stuff, no space,” Bluey was getting impatient.
Unmoved, Cedric went on:
…“Wiggle your fin.”
…“Feel the muscle and tense it.”
…“Can’t feel it. Doesn’t work.”
Cedric was thinking very hard: “If I could pinch him, he would feel it, but I am too small and not strong enough, and his skin is too hard.”
Cedric thought this might work:
…“Remember the stick in your gills? Where did you feel it?”
…“On the outside or the inside.”
…“Not on the outside.”
…“So if it is not on the outside, where then?”
…“On the inside.”
…“And where do you feel the water current, the warm and cold?” Cedric was hopeful.
…“On the inside?” came Bluey’s tentative voice.
…“Correct,” Cedric laughed and continued:
…“Same place where you feel hungry.” Bluey did not reply.
Cedric was on a winner:
…“Now, I wait here, and you swim as fast as you can somewhere and back and observe what happens.”
…“Oakey Dokey, boss.”
And off he shot like the devil was chasing him, personally.
A few minutes later there was an enormous rush in the water. Bluey was showing off and passed by at high speed. Cedric got washed away. He laughed; Bluey needed some confidence building opportunities. And after all, if learning is no fun, who wants to?
Soon after the water had calmed again, Bluey returned with the biggest grin on his face.
…“Ah, I needed this, stretching the old muscles. Ah.”
Cedric was quiet and waited, and Bluey carried on:
…“Oh, it was so good, marvellous… ah,” and on and on, just to tease Cedric. He noticed it and let him have his show.
Bluey kept on playing the game.
…“Ah, what was that all about again?” Stopping for a pretend thinking pause.
…“Ah, yes, how I can swim so fast… I think it’s because I can fold all my fins very close to my body and the big one on the top has a groove to disappear in. Look, I show you.”
And then he moved the top fin up and down, and all his side fins and top and bottom fins almost disappeared too, so close they were folded on to Bluey’s body. Cedric was very impressed, Bluey looked so different, now.
…“Wow. That’s amazing,” was Cedric’s comment, highly impressed:
…“That’s how you do it.”
And to give Bluey a cue, he added:
…“How did you work all this out?” Bluey continued without hesitation:
…“I went inside and looked around and felt my muscles. And then, I slowed down and sped up again a few times and watched what changed and then I knew.”
…”But, I have to keep my mouth open, so water can get to my gills. That’s the only thing that slows me down.” And they kept on laughing for quite some time.
After this remarkable breakthrough, Bluey realising that he can think, Cedric mumbled:
…“I wish, I had a large back fin.”
…“So I could fold it in, too, and pump faster.” Smiling, Bluey answered:
…“There isn’t any spot on you for any type of fin and no space to fold it into.”
Then, he continued comforting:
…“You are very flexible, fins would only hinder you. I am very stiff, one fin more or less wouldn’t matter.”
And after a moment of thought he kept on:
…“Remember your shell?”
…”It was good for a while, but at the end, it stopped you from travelling. That’s what you really wanted.”
…“Thank you, Bluey, you are very kind.”
Water and Oceans
As always, there is eating and sleeping time and after, the world starts anew, all over again. Cedric was very occupied with this new ‘water’ thing. For the moment he had forgotten about his investigations on breathing. I guess, when there is no effort, one does not need to be conscious of it for it to function. It happens all by itself, no need to worry about.
But water was intriguing. In particular, because he had been surrounded by it, he had been living in it all his life and had not noticed it, until now. Which could lead one to the most relevant question: “Had it been hiding from him?”
Cedric was already quite conscious of his inner life. Now, it was time to discover the border to his surround. His skin. And as he turned his awareness into his skin, he could sense some solidness, something was stroking his skin. It was the motion of the water as he was moving through it.
Why would he not have noticed this before? Lack of awareness? No, on Bluey’s back he was moving much faster than ever before in his life and therefore, the sensation had never been so intense and therefore more noticeable. Only recently, he had been introduced to water and now, had been the first time that he had time to think about it.
Water, water, water. Cedric had an inkling that there must be more to it. More than breathing and pumping and filling up the third dimension. He had a sense of awe; therefore, he stepped back, mentally, and let it be, trusting that at the right time more information will come.
At this moment he realised a confusing discrepancy, which needed to be resolved, immediately.
…“Bluey, why do you call water sometimes ‘water’ and sometimes ‘ocean’? Is there any difference between them?”
…“Ocean, is a name for water, just like Pacific and Atlantic.”
…“Water is like fish, and ocean is like tuna, Atlantic is like herring and Pacific like mackerel.”
…“It’s just another word for water,” Bluey tried a shortcut. He had not even half recovered from the last inquisition. It sort of worked.
…“Why would you give water different names?”
…“That I know, where I am.”
…“You are here. What more do you need to know?”
…“So I can keep my bearing.”
…“What’s bearing and why do you need to keep it?”
…“So I know where to go.”
…“So I know where the best food is.”
This clarified things; food is so central to all beings. But only for a moment.
…“Bluey, where are we now?”
…“Coming ’round the southern corner of the big island that’s in our way of going north.”
Cedric imagined the big ball and north and something being in the way. Not easy. This was his train of thought: “We try to go north, and there is something in our way. Is there another kind of water where we can’t swim in? What did Bluey call it? What’s in our way?”
…“Bluey, what did you call it?”
…“The thing that’s in our way.”
…“I-land, you-land, I-land, you-land, I-land, you-land.”
…“Oh, Cedric, what are you going on about?”
…“Nothing, what’s I-land?”
…“An island comes when the ground gets very shallow when you get closer. And then, all of a sudden, the ground moves above the surface of the water.”
Cedric called out:
…“What? The ground goes above the ceiling of the world? Impossible. Nothing goes beyond the ceiling of the world. Total nonsense!”
Bluey was a bit taken aback:
…“Remember, when we jumped out of the water?”
…“Obviously, but there was nothing up there. No-thing, what-so-ever.”
…“All right, all right. Hold your herrings.
And before Cedric could ask about herrings, he added quickly:
…”Would it be ok, if I tell you that I had a look, myself?”
…“You had a look? Yourself?”
…“Yep, one day, when I was a youngster and curious as you, the very same question kept on nagging me.”
…”What did you do?”
…”I swam very fast towards the shallow ground and I slipped up, and my head was above the water.”
…“What did you see?”
…“As I told you, the ground just goes on and on.”
…“Not much, it just went higher up.”
…”Didn’t have much time for looking around, because I ran out of breath. Had to wiggle and bash for my life. Blimey, a big wave came and pulled me back in the water. Luckily.”
…“No Bluey today, otherwise.”
There was a brief moment of remembrance. However, this island topic was far too hot. Thus, Cedric’s curiosity pushed for more information:
…“So, do you mind Bluey, could you tell me more about it? Why is it called island?”
…“Not sure. But, when you keep it always aside to the same one eye and keep on swimming, and you come back to the same place where you started, then you have swum around one eye-land.”
…“Are there many eye-lands in the ocean?”
…“Yep. And they all come in different sizes.”
…”And if, after a while, you haven’t returned to the place where you started, then it wasn’t an island, but the edge of the water.”
…“I thought water goes on forever, around the whole world?”
…“Nope, it has an edge all way round. Otherwise, it would run out.”
Bluey felt very intelligent, having come up with this clever conclusion.
…“Aaaah,” returned a long sound of appreciation.
Cedric imagined the circle mesh ball, with islands on it and water and its edge all the way round. And since water came first, there must be more water on this ball. Much more. At this point in time, he had not been able to grasp the consequence of his deduction.
Namely: “If there is much more water sitting on the world then all the land must be islands. It would be only a matter of time, how long it would take to circumnavigate them.” Nevertheless, he wondered what islands would be good for. They must have more purpose than just being in the way.
Bluey interrupted his thought process:
…“We met near an island.”
…“Really? A big one?”
…“Smallish, I’d say. Took me about a night time to swim around it, leisurely.”
…“In the Indian Ocean.”
Cedric was too much involved in his own thoughts and did not ask more about ‘Indian’. Instead, he imagined, having had an island nearby his home and never known about it, he had never looked, because then, he didn’t even know what an island was.
…“Bluey, do you always know where you are?”
…“Sort off. I take the course the old fellows showed me.”
…“How does that go?” Cedric asked.
…“Told you about the currents? They are the leading guides, and there are a few landmarks.”
…“Told you we came ’round the southern corner of the big island. That’s a landmark.”
Bluey went on:
…“We go north, now. Soon the water will turn colder, ‘cause we jump currents.”
…“Then we go as far north as possible have a good feed.”
…”Food is always good.”
For some reason, Bluey did not respond to this interjection.
…”Then it’s a long straight run in a warm current. Oh, not to forget, there is a visit to my birthplace in between.”
…”Birthplace?” Cedric tried to interrupt.
Again, Bluey ignored this question.
…”Then we will need to work a bit, till we get to another corner of the edge of the water. Another cold current leads us half way up north. Then it’s easy cruising in warm waters for a long time.”
…”I like it when it is warm.”
…”I know. And then, it gets a bit tricky to get around a huge island in the south. I always manage. And then, we come to the place where we met, in the Indian Ocean. Got the gist?”
…“Ah. It’s that simple?” Cedric concluded.
…“Not quite, but close enough,” was Bluey’s final comment.
The days of cruising north seemed endless. The only change was, the water turned cold, just as Bluey had predicted. And then, at an unimportant moment it happened:
…“Hey Ced, have got a moment?” Bluey was getting used to starting the conversation. How unusual.
…”For you, anytime. What’s up?”
…“Ahm, don’t really know how to say this. Wanna tell you, it’s good ‘have you around.”
…“That’s nice of you to say,” Cedric wondered what would come next.
…“You know, since we are friends, I’ve been swimming much slower, when you are around. You know that I won’t lose you.”
…“That’s very kind of you, Bluey.”
…“Yes, no, that’s not what I wanna say, but, when I swim slower, I see more and like swim in shallow water, ‘cause there is more to see.”
…“I am so glad to hear this. I sometimes wondered if you felt bored because you slowed down for me. And now I know that you are happy about it, too.”
…“What is it, what you see?” Cedric asked.
…“Lots of things on the ground. Often they are more colourful than the things up in the water. Mainly food, up here, but there is more to life than food.” Bluey was impressed with himself.
…“What do you mean?”
…“Oh, things like friends and beautiful things.”
Bluey noticed that he liked talking like this. Surprised, he thought: “Talking like this? Being more than friendly, feeling something special, something warm.” That was enough for the moment. And aloud to Cedric:
…“That’s why I go past islands, ‘cause the water is shallow.”
…“Ah, I see.”
This rekindled another pertinent question:
…“By the way, Bluey, talking about shallow ground. Why is the ground not the same all over?”
…”Why are there deep parts in water? Aren’t they dangerous? It’s dark down there, and one can’t see anything. So, why would anyone want to go there?”
…”Sure thing. Been there, done that.”
…”Really? But why? Why would you want to go down there?”
…“Won’t go there again. An old blue whale told me about it and the huge beings; they could even eat me.”
…”Wow. That big?”
…”Yep. But, I was all muscles and no brain. Wanted to see for myself. Got almost caught by a monster. Lost the tip of my back fin.”
…”Won’t go back down there again, never ever .”
…“The good thing is, those nasties don’t like the light. They stay down there. And it is so dark, we can’t see them, and they can’t frighten us. Don’t worry, it’s all good.”
Cedric thought: “I never thought that Bluey would be frightened of anything. He is so big and fast. These monsters must be really horrible.” What he had not noticed, yet, was, Bluey has been talking more, lately.
Through all this excitement, Cedric overheard an important word: ‘Blue Whale’. But not to worry. We will return to this topic in the following part.
End of Part 4
Ready to read part 5? About the Size of Things