Call  them what you may–– jellyfish, jellies, jellies, sea jellies, Medusa,   MAN OF WAR–– to my mind, they are the oldest  body artists on this planet. They have roamed the seas for 500 million years. Shaping themselves from some magic substance, wrapping themselves around air in miracles of design. Transparent. Fragile. Ephemeral, yes, but eternal in their capacity to re-invent themselves.

Tossed up from the tide, strewn along the Florida beach, jellyfish force walkers to move gingerly around them.  They will sting badly if you step on their thin thread of a streamer. But if you respect them, they leave you alone. And they are so beautiful.


 I am totally fascinated by them. This exquisite blob that I photographed was one of hundreds catching the sun’s glint along the sandy shore.  Scattered there on the sand, from a distance the transparent blobs look like chunks of glass reflecting off the sun. Closer they sparkle like  a mineralogist’s collection of individual precious crystals.  Then when you peer down on them, you see  that each one,  is a pulsating life-form, a body artist shaping its  own jellyfish destiny, a living sculpture of incomparable grace and form.
Jellyfish are found in every ocean, from surface shallow waters to the deepest  depths.

These that I have photographed are from salt water. I am not sure they are  any more benign than Man O’War, but I wouldn’t test them. So far as I know only the fresh water species don’t sting.

These transparent creatures probably do–– Harmless as they appear. When I look down into them,  study their mystery, I feel  properly humbled. Awed. Right before me, I have stumbled upon some ultimate truth.

Nature in its unfathomable eternal mystery  reminds you of the limits of human artistry.

We can only strive in our small way to make some suitable comment.