Do dolphins have orgasms?
It’s funny the thoughts you have when you stop thinking. After a hectic few months of being out there, organising and making decisions, I decided to take some time out. A friend was going on holiday and offered her home at the Bodhi Farm community in The Channon, near Nimbin.
In her higgedly piggedly mud brick house with views of Mt Nardi and Blue Knob I felt like I had found a favourite jumper, tried it on and it still fitted perfectly.
I settled into being by myself. I skimmed the bookshelves wanting to read them all; books on the science of love, on loneliness, dreams and memories. I chose a Buddhist book about our addictions to alcohol, drugs, habits, patterns and unconscious ways of being with ourselves.
Without the addiction of television to distract me I read for hours and went to bed early. With all the night time visitors that found their way through the gaps in the wall and the curtain door, my big yellow lantern torch was my constant bedfellow. The bat, the very long lizard that I thought was a snake, the mice, the brush turkeys made disturbing noises close to the bed head. I slept with my toes and legs curled tight under the blankets, lest they decide to come even closer.
Fortunately I could sleep as long as I liked without the enforced time structures of packed lunches and meetings. My time-frame was mine to create. I could read when I wanted, eat when I felt like it and wander the woods anytime. Or I could just sit and do absolutely nothing. I re-acquainted myself with me.
You might expect some astounding revelations about yourself through doing this, some insight into the hows and whys of your life. Possibly.
On Sunday night I sat on a high deck on the western side of the house. Two rocking chairs were all that fitted on the tiny verandah yet this platform was perfectly positioned to see the soft pink sunset blend with intermittent lightning strikes in the northern sky. I wrapped a woollen blanket around my legs like an old woman and rocked back and forth and drank a gin and tonic I’d found at the back of the pantry.
I deserved it — the compost toilet was the scariest I’d ever seen and a ‘g & t’ made it a bit more approachable.
As I watched the coming of the night sky I witnessed a light show of fireflies. I thought I was seeing things and blinked several times at the pretty blue green lights in the bushes. How could a creature this small convert its body into a light beacon, to transform itself so completely? It got me thinking (yet another addiction) if there were any other animals that could convert themselves in such a spectacular manner.
After scouring the realms of the animal kingdom and discounting the male seahorse I came up with the human orgasm. A big jump from a firefly I know but I was free wheeling with my thinking and had spent at least two days alone.
How transformed by the orgasm were humans? Did other animals have orgasms? Was there any scientific proof for this and how was it measured? What about so-called intelligent species? Did dolphins have orgasms?
Fortunately someone passed by at this point and asked if I was okay perched on the deck thinking about orgasms.
‘Are you lost?’ I asked.
‘Only metaphorically,’ he said.
‘Me too,’ I said. I laughed loudly, and awkwardly.
He talked about the sky and the impending storm and the fireflies. It bought me back to the present. Perhaps I am a safer person when I am busy and don’t have the time to reflect on fireflies and possible diversions.
The process of becoming unstuck requires tremendous bravery, because basically we are completely changing our way of receiving reality, was a quote from one of the books piled next to my chair on the deck.I did spend time looking at myself, my reality and my dreams. I was trying to write a column about truth but the more I wrote the harder it got and the more I realised that I knew nothing at all about truth.
With or without the distraction of orgasmic dolphins I knew that making time to be with myself was something I wanted to do on a regular basis, every three months or so even if it was only for a few days.
On my final day I picked up a spiritual phrase book from a small dusty shelf, chasing one last piece of textual wisdom on my way out.I know I am not seeing things as they are; I’m seeing things as I am.
I decided to let go of my addiction to questioning and trying to understand everything and just enjoy the drive home through The Channon hills.
Life can be that simple if I let it.
Originally published in Here & Now magazine, 2004