Lessons Learned from a 1200 Pound Manatee


During a trip to Florida this past winter, I had the special pleasure of being able to observe Manatees at close range. It became my morning ritual to have my coffee sitting on the dock in a marina, with the manatees swimming just a few feet below.

Manatees, often referred to as “Sea Cows”, are herbivorous marine mammals, up to 13 feet in length, weighing up to a bouncing 1300 pounds, with a life span of up to 60 years. Apparently, they are closest to the elephant family.

Their greatest threat is from the propellers of passing boats. The backs of most of the manatees that I watched were covered with many scars of various ages. These slow-moving giants, are famous for being gentle. Like dolphins, people may swim near them with no fear of harm.

As I watched them roll through the water, I understood why I am so attracted to these ancient creatures. They command an elegance about them. Just like people, they might be aged, scarred, and battered, but they are also gentle and elegant.

I am reminded of the inherent majesty and elegance that is the natural state of people. You see our true worth is “fixed” at birth. It is only one’s access to the knowledge of this truth that can be positively or negatively impacted by one’s experience of life. In essence, no matter how long you have walked the earth, and no matter how emotionally or physically scarred you might feel, your true nature is that of an elegant, magnificent being.

I look forward to seeing the manatees again.

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