I love to scuba-dive. It’s the quickest way off the planet, or at least into another world entirely, where all the shit I think about has to be reconsidered in a different light. Something filtering down through a new medium that I am a stranger to, and in which I can only spend very short stretches of time.
On a recent dive in the Mafia Island marine reserve in Tanzania, I encountered a Lion’s Mane jellyfish. I saw it floating off in the distance and swam nervously away from my group to get closer to it. It was huge, the largest jelly I’ve ever encountered underwater, and it pulsed gently in the tidal swell, surrounded by a cloud of tiny silver fish. As always, when meeting jellies, I am reminded of their colonial structure, and how they function as habitat for a variety of other creatures, especially the larval and juvenile forms of reef fishes- which rely on them for sanctuary at or near the surface as they grow into subadulthood. It was all I could do not to give this vast embodiment of refuge a hug, and good thing too because those tentacles would have stung me almost unto death.
I carved this block in residence at the Nafasi Art Center in Dar es Salaam Tanzania, and printed it at home in Portland OR on my Vandercook 3 letterpress.