The Loneliest Whale In The Ocean


Somewhere in the Pacific ocean, a whale of unprecedented size is swimming around and calling out to other whales, with no response. This is the “52 Blue” whale, subject of worldwide devotion and fascination and a beautiful new essay on being alone from Leslie Jamison. You can (and should!) read an excerpt on Slate.

One marine-mammal researcher quoted in the story, Kate Stafford, may have inadvertently fanned the flames: “He’s saying, ‘Hey, I’m out here,’ ” she told Revkin. “Well, nobody is phoning home.” These letters came from the heartbroken and the deaf, from the lovelorn and the single; the once bitten, twice shy and the twice bitten, forever shy—people who identified with the whale or hurt for him, hurt for whatever set of feelings they’d projected onto him.

Sarah Edwards lives in New York. You can find her virtually (at her blog, or twitter, @eddy_sarah) or at the pie shop she works at in Brooklyn, where she would definitely like to serve you a piece of pie. More from this author →