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  • Writer's pictureJohnny Caputo

Science Sunday: Wandering Whales

The world of Chronsylvania is full of strange phenomena, much like our own world. Every Sunday we'll highlight an article that explores the strange, and very real, scientific properties of our universe. We'll also leave you with a writing/drawing prompt based on the article to get your creative juices flowing.

This week’s article from Science News relates the adventures of an adolescent narwhal who wandered too far from home and lost his pod. Whales are highly social creatures, and without social interaction with other whales, they struggle to survive. This could have developed into a highly dangerous situation, one that may have threatened the young narwhal's life, if not for a pack of open-minded beluga whales who decided to take in the narwhal and treat him as one of their own.

You can read the full story here.

While belugas and narwhals share some common habitats, they are rarely seen interacting with each other. The fact that this pod of belugas so eagerly accepted a whale of a different species (let alone a species with a giant horn sticking out of its nose) sends a clear and well-worn (yet often ignored) message about the need to accept those who are different from us, to find commonalities instead of focusing on differences. We can heal the world with love, peace, and peanut grease! Yup, all that good kind of stuff.

But the moral rah-rah-sis-boomb-bahs, isn't what has me so intrigued by this article. No, what caught my attention is that I, like most people (and apparently many whales), have been lost before. I have been confused and upset and lonely and scared. And every time I've felt this way, someone or something has helped me to find myself again. I've been lost for as short as a few minutes, and as long as a few years. Sometimes it took longer to find help than others. Sometimes the help came to me, and sometimes I had to go looking for it. But regardless, without fail, every time I've been lost, someone or something has been there to help me figure out where I am. Who I am. Someone or something has been there to help me move forward into new and terrifying uncharted waters.

So maybe the message isn't: "Look at those two different species of whales co-existing and helping one another."

Maybe there isn't a message. Maybe there are only questions.

Questions like: Is getting lost a law of nature, like gravity, that all creatures are subject to?

And if getting lost is a law, is getting found a law too?

Creative Prompt: Write/draw about a time you were lost. You can define the word "lost" however you see fit. This could be a time when one of your deepest beliefs was shaken to its foundations, a time you get separated from your parents at the mall, or a time you simply got turned around in a new city. Write/draw about what it felt like to be lost in this way.

Then, write/draw about someone or something that helped you during this time. The grumpy store employee who announced your Mom's name over the P.A. to come retrieve you at customer service? A word of advice from a friend? Your trusty Google Maps app? The smile of a kind stranger? Think about the emotional and physical sensations of this experience. What did it feel like to receive this help? Were you relieved? Upset? Embarrassed? Ecstatic?

Share your writing and art with us on Twitter and Instagram @lumberjacksonco or you can email us directly at We’d love to broadcast your writing and art to the world via our website and social media channels. If you want us to publish your work, simply include a brief message that reads, “Okay to publish.”

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