Pandemic stress is legit, friends, and has taken its toll in myriad ways. Still, there is so much to be grateful for. There have been many little lightning bugs illuminating the dark corridors of the last seven months.
For those of us privileged to be quarantining at home, there has been a tsunami of distractions: online classes, live streamed concerts, meetups, meditations, and of course, the dreaded WFH Zoom always just one “join meeting” click away. It’s easy to miss the treasures hidden beneath the surface.
Like an octopus, boroughing its way into a crevice to avoid detection.
Yes, friends, I’m here to tell you about one of the most delightful discoveries of the Fall: My Octopus Teacher.
It’s the story of a South African filmmaker, Craig Foster, who’s brought out of his loneliness, depression and burn-out by the gentle and playful connection he forges with an almost magical octopus. She – the octopus is a female, naturally! – seems capable of trust and friendship.
What makes this touching documentary truly unusual, though, is what the story teaches us about ‘humanity’. Perhaps it’s time to rethink that term, if indeed it takes a mollusk to teach us what it means to be human:
- We are connected intrinsically, some say spiritually, to the earth, to all of its creatures, and to one another
- Life is especially ephemeral for octopi; their entire lifespan lasts roughly one year, and they have no hard shell to protect themselves from predators like sharks
- This vulnerability makes them extremely agile and cunning about survival, and yet…she is curious, even affectionate? when she encounters Craig snorkeling around
I simply wanted to let you know this beautiful film is out on Netflix, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. It reminded me that life and death are next door neighbors (like octopi and sharks in an underwater sea forest), and through intimacy and vulnerability we can give the life we’re given – no matter how short, no matter how many Zoom calls separate us physically from others – deeper meaning. I sincerely can’t recommend My Octopus Teacher highly enough.