The Presidio

We’re visiting Asia in San Jose, and yesterday we went to a beach in San Francisco that had beached jellyfish all over it. They just turn into a pile of clear mush, and are barely recognizable. We might not have even noticed them except that there were so many.



And of course we couldn’t resist this photo:


One thought on “The Presidio

  1. izzy says:

    Narrating the IMAX documentary Deep Sea, Johnny Depp’s first words are to assure us we’re not watching science fiction, and the creatures are not from another planet. The creatures are jellyfish, and the assurance that this is our own world fails to comfort me. Their biomass now surpasses ocean vertebrates, and are found in staggering quantities where they have never been seen in number before, because we have sickened the waters with overfishing and the climate is trending towards conditions unseen since the Carboniferous Era.

    Complexity is the product of cooling, a process observable on every order of scale. The world we recognize and of which we’re a part is the product of a climate mild enough to encourage diversity and intricacy. Brainless and simple jellies thrive in warm waters, and catastrophic warming means devolution of the seas back into primordial soups. The new plague of jellies appears as a harbinger of the end of the world we know from out of the world we didn’t: from out of Deep Time. From slime, back to slime.

    Billions of luminescent mauve stingers, “in a dense pack of about 10 square miles and 35 feet deep,” wiped out Northern Ireland’s only salmon farm last November. “In 30 years, I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Northern Salmon’s Managing Director John Russell. “It was unprecedented, absolutely amazing. The sea was red with these jelly fish and there was nothing we could do about it, absolutely nothing.” This is more than three months old and you may have already forgotten the report, but is there a rival to this horror in all of Lovecraft’s fiction? More than three months on and I still can’t shake it, and it’s at least worthy of the signs and wonders of a blind idiot god.

    Translucent, mutable and iridescent, 98% water and almost entirely not there, a jelly is perhaps as close to a phantom as a creature can be and yet still belong to the material realm. In this respect at least it transcends the material, and gives great metaphor for the ineffable and alien yet familiar Other.

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