I'm powering through an early 60s short-story collection done as a tie-in to The Twilight Zone, adapted by -- let's see -- Walter B. Gibson. I was rather surprised to find one page neatly missing -- no obvious tearing, just a sheet gone. It's a bruised-and-battered 1968 printing, so damage should be expected, and at least it wasn't the last page of the story ("The Curse of Seven Towers") that was missing...
I also dug out a coffee table book I'd borrowed a while ago, probably over a year ago, from my folks: Wake of the Whale, about whale photographers and researchers and the whales and other marine creatures they track. I'd never read its text (by Kenneth Brower) before now, but as a kid I devoured the photos (by William R. Curtsinger), some of which are surreal and alien and many of which are beautiful.
I've always been drawn to whales; I find their existence comforting. They have power that befits their size and grace that belies it. And knowing there's a kind of intelligence behind those giant eyes that's not exactly like the intelligence we have...well, that reminds me of the variety and grandness of the world. (And yes, I felt all this before humpback whales saved the world by talking to that giant probe in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.) I think I once surprised Alicia with how much I knew about whales, knowledge which I started unloading on her when we visited a traveling exhibit of whale models, including a life-sized orca.
How drawn am I to whales? As a kid I had a recurring dream-image of an island-sized gray whale, off of the U.S. Pacific coast and occasionally close enough to shore that people could see it. And in my dream-world, the whale never got harassed; no one clambered onto it, certainly no one tried to harpoon and kill it. But, at least once, I did swim out to it. And I can still remember that sense, exaggerated by dream-logic, of this vast life and vast intelligence embodied in this vast creature slowly parting the waters. Wake of the Whale reminds me of that.