Apropos of not much else on this blog: I’ve had a warm spot for the albatross ever since, one very special summer in college, living a short train ride from Geneva in Switzerland, the children in my apartment generously let me read their Chronicles of Narnia. I was eighteen years old and had never heard of C.S. Lewis. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader spoke as a map on my life in those days. The most powerful image in the book for me (and apparently for a lot of other people too) was an albatross, that legendary “cursed” bird, a folk association that Lewis turns completely on its head, as one literally leading its viewers out of a very dark and drowning vortex, into life. If you haven’t read the story, I won’t spoil it with more details here. Friends may sometimes come upon me wearing a tiny golden pin of an albatross in flight.
All that to say: albatrosses matter as part of our maritime world, not just as Narnia metaphors. Learn more in these new online resources:
- “A Year in the Life of an Albatross“
- “Albatross Stories” a digital storytelling campaign to help protect the albatross from another type of modern drowning vortex, into life
- Videos about albatross on Midway Island from the Friends of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge (warning: may contains stories or images that are troubling to nature lovers)
*C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Chapter 12, “The Dark Island”
Note: The photo of fishing boats in Digby, Nova Scotia, seen above, is meant to be topically suggestive only. There are two types of albatrosses among the birds of Nova Scotia, but I am not in any way suggesting that these boats play any role in the troubling circumstances described in the stories and videos from different locations around the world.