I loved reading this short story. It wove a brief tale of the thrill of a human being interacting with the extreme outdoors- the pack of killer whales. But it was much more than that. It was also a beautifully written history of Glacier Bay and detailed exploration of the animals and organisms that fill the area.
I liked the focus on the dichotomy of life and death in the natural world. The way that Cahill compared nature to a human body stuck out to me: "The old woman in the ice gives birth to her children-- the great slabs of ice that calve off the tidewater glaciers and thunder into the sea" (253) or "the rising sun...with crimson that suggested a great heart pumping inside the ice" (255). Feeling surrounded by the ups and down of the living and dying of the natural world was beautiful and humbling to read about. Cahills' fleeting fear of resembling a seal provokes a smile but also illuminates how vulnerable we feel when put amidst the hustle and bustle of extreme wilderness.
I liked this story because it reminds me of why I enjoy being outdoors-- seeing an incredible view or a moose up close makes me feel a sense of "wondrous privilege" (249). This, to me, is such a unique, indescribable feeling, that it felt really wonderful to read the work of someone who found a great way to describe it. I think this short story encompasses a sense of adventure, curiosity, and uncertainty while also accounting for our human vulnerability and the strength and wonder of the wild world.