Sharks in the Mall!

The single redeeming feature of the Mall of America may have been its aquarium. Not the rainforest portion populated by plastic trees (!!!) but the aquarium itself, with a neat shark tank and some artistically-lit jellyfish that provided ample photo ops that the Mall simply didn’t have. Like a museum or art gallery, aquariums have always provided a sense of peace, in their tranquil dim waters where light didn’t always reach, or the rocky lair where the intelligence of the octopus laid in patient wait for the smallest crack of escape. I could spend hours watching the undulating wings of the sting rays gliding elegantly by, or the sleek torpedo form of a shark slicing seamlessly through the water.

Beneath the dismal never-ending Mall, the lionfish roared and the seahorses galloped. A pair of green moray eels greeted visitors with unrelenting stares and open mouths, while a colorful coral reef display found Nemo and Dory in close confined proximity.

Yet even here, the hokiness of the Mall pervaded, from the aforementioned plastic trees of the rainforest to the false ruin of some fictional Atlantis-like civilization. Fortunately, underwater scenes can look quite magical in a photo, as hopefully evidenced by these shots.

Even the surroundings could not take away from the majesty of these sea creatures, and my fascination with ocean life always stirs in the company of salt-water inhabitants.

We were all very far from our homes, and there was something rather sad about that.

The saving grace was that I could return to mine, at least for now, but they never could. Kept in an artificial environment, they would not be able to successfully return to their origins, never experience the freedom of the open ocean. They had lost the ability to survive on their own, the instinct to hunt.

I still had that hunger. No one was putting on a wet suit and jumping in to feed me.

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