The Smallest of Things

Waikiki Beach, Cape Disappointment } Erik Sundell, Google Maps

They weren’t just whales. That was the first thing she would let them know in her speech today. They had cultures: distinct ways of socializing and hunting. They had their own languages and each pod had a distinct accent.

They were individuals.

They were Granny, a twenty-one foot female with a frayed tail that watched over her daughters’ young like a midwife, and once took on a trio of great whites like a gladiator. They were Tika, a large male with a gnawed dorsal fin, who was known for trailing sailors around the cape to play in their wake.

They had personalities. They felt joy, they felt sorrow, they felt love.

She had to let them know this—and everything about them—and how very much it mattered. Because if she couldn’t save them—these whales—these great and magnificent creatures—what hope was there for the smallest of things?

150 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click here.

Today (June 15, 2019) is Orca Day in Cape Disappointment State Park, so if you’re in the area, head on over! Cape Disappointment hosts inaugural ‘Orca Day’

At present, there are 76 southern resident orcas. With such low numbers, orcas face extinction within 100 years.


  1. I like it. We so underestimate and undervalue whales; shrug them off, they’re just big elephants of the sea, forgetting that elephants have familial and societal values too

    Liked by 2 people

    1. They are amazing. I learned a lot in the writing of this. I hope they (among many things) can be saved! Thanks for reading. Crispina.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Always like to read your Pegman posts.


  2. Oh, I do like this story! I love the characters of the whales. I love the message.
    And you’ve written it with consummate skill, describing what the whales have done – I especially like Granny “taking on a trio of great whites like a gladiator”. It’s so simple and yet so effective because the anecdotes are so apt, and related with such precision.
    Kudos, Karen!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Penny. I’m glad you liked it! I’m touched by your kind words.


  3. Great voice here, and an urgently needed message. Brought a lump to my throat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Reading your message brought a smile to my face–that is the reaction I hoped to elicit. Thanks for reading and for your kind words, Joy.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Such a lovely story. I really like the voice and sentiment both.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! I had fun writing it. I developed a real passion for these creatures in the writing of it.


  5. peterkirsch

    Thanks Karen. We are the Lorax…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that you said that! That we are, Peter, that we are.


  6. I can only echo what others have said – great writing and a wonderful message. We so underestimate the extent of relationship bonds and intelligence in many species. Let’s hope we can hold onto them long enough to truly appreciate them. Well done

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your praise, it means a lot! Yes indeed, I hope we can keep all these creatures (and ourselves) around. There is much to learn.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There is much to learn. Let’s hope we can preserve some of these species long enough to learn it

        Liked by 1 person

  7. When I first moved from Colorado to the uppermost tip of the Washington coast, sealife fascinated me: orcas – seen occasionally, clams, starfish, octopus, mussels, limpets, even the GINORMOUS banana slugs. You captured the need to save all these creatures, great and small, perfectly in your tale. So beautifully done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your very kind words. I loved your comment. We were in Cape Disappointment a year ago and your comment brought back the flavor of the sea to me.


  8. lillmcgill

    Just loved it.


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