Druids at Sea
While most Druids typically lived in deep forests and groves, and were very close to the flora and fauna of those regions, there were probably an equal number of Druids who thrived while living near the water. While Druids missed their trees, they did not tire of watching and communing with the Sea. They loved especially the sounds and the smells of the ocean, and would contemplate the majesty of relationship between Land and Water.
Druids learned that the Sea had its own rules and set of behaviors, and these conditions seemed to render their previous understandings as almost puny, as it was easy for man to trod upon Land, but not so easy to trod upon Water, and Druids who lived by the Sea did so with alternating feelings of euphoria and trepidation. Yet, they were inspired by their ever-present desire to learn, and to reach the Stars, and the Druids often felt that true understanding of the Sea would bring them the understanding required to affect total harmony between Man, World, and Spirit.
Most seaside Druids were content to remain at established homes near the ocean, but there were some Druids, particularly the solitary ones, who learned to build boats, and to navigate the waters in search of other lands and cultures. Druids never built anything resembling armadas, as their intent was transportation, traveling and learning, rather than conquest.
A single Druid might travel in a small boat for the purpose of sailing distances that required less than a day. Several Druids might build a boat capable of surviving a three or four day journey, but would seldom build boats requiring strength and durability for more than a week's journey. A Druid who wanted to sight-see, and land where the ocean dropped him, was more likely to hitch a ride with a Viking ship, when available. Vikings almost never refused to carry a Druid or two, as Druids were considered "good luck", and would only refuse to carry Druids if the Vikings felt they were at great risk of encountering dangerous shoals or hostile waters, in which case the Druid was more than happy to stay where he was and wait for the next passing ship.
One reason Druids were particularly comfortable by the Sea was its easy-access relationship with dinner. Druids who were not proficient at hunting for game found that setting traps for lobsters, crab, shrimp, and other fish and shell-fish did not require a disposition "meaner" than that of their prey. Druids believed that animals that didn't want to get caught, did not get caught, and the Druid's natural passivity and easy acceptance kept him from being more aggressive, even when hungry.
Thus, the Sea was a natural harbor for Druids. Survival required common-sense, as it always does, but life by the Sea was generally more "benevolent" than many Druids were used to. The only real conflict the Druids had with this arrangement was learning to gauge and guard against the moods of the Ocean, and the terrible gales that occurred in season, and Druids would have to have a home sufficiently insulated against the wind and the tide.
Druids learned to establish their camps at a quarter-day walk from the ocean, so the Druid learned to start his day by going to the ocean to set his traps, and would return the following day to gather his catch, and to set new traps. Between these excursions, the Druid would also have small game or fowl to eat, or he relied on fruits of trees between more substantial meals harvested from the ocean.
Without a doubt, the greatest attraction to the ocean were the dolphins, and Druids were magnetically attracted to these beautiful, peaceful, and intelligent animals. As the Druids marveled at the treasures of the ocean, they treasured even more those Beings who appeared to be their Brothers in fish-form. It is known today that dolphins are not fish, but mammals, but to the Ancient and Elder Druids, it appeared that there was a life-form capable of mastering the Sea, as Druids mastered the Land, and Druids often felt they had met their true spiritual counterparts, and so loved the dolphins as being the true intermediaries between Man and Animal, and also between the Land and the Sea.
As Dolphins were recognized for gracing the waters, the dolphins felt that Druids graced the land. Both beings recognized the Divinity of the other, and both felt that a greater Harmony was possible, and perhaps their Purpose, to serve. As Druids were anxious to share and to explore consciousness with the dolphins, the dolphins were equally anxious to share their own joy and experience. The dolphins knew instinctively that they were "safe" with Druids, and so would cavort, play, skip, dance, laugh, and even show-off their repertoire of water ballet.
When conditions were just right, and a trust had been established through telepathic contact, empathetic relay, and corresponding gestures of action, a dolphin would freely allow a Druid to hang on to his fin, and the two would swim together for short distances. Dolphins are incredibly perceptive and astute, and sense when it it is "too far" for humans, so they do not attempt to take human companions into unsafe waters or depth. If a human had a compatible weight and frame, a dolphin might give a swimmer a ride for a short distance, and then return the swimmer to safe standing ground in the water.
To escort a swimmer was one of the greatest honors known by dolphins, but could only be attempted under the most ideal of circumstances, including personal compatibility between himself and the swimmer. It is the dolphin who determines when and if he will carry a human, yet dolphins would be more interested in carrying humans, at least for short distances, if humans could greater develop their own sense of Trust. A dolphin knows he will not drop a swimmer, but a human who doubts himself or the dolphin while riding projects his fear to the dolphin, and the dolphin becomes insecure and unstable. Dolphins only falter when faced with Doubt - a condition possessed solely by humans.
Dolphins have become "vogue" again, within the last 30 years. Much of this has to do with people voluntarily committing themselves to environmentalism and animal naturalism, so humans have learned quite a bit about dolphins, and dolphins are again being given a chance to learn more about humans. Within the last 30 years, there have been great advancements and improvements between dolphin and human relations. Humans, as a trend, are trying to get away from dolphin and general animal exploitation, yet wish to retain a balance of free interaction between dolphins and humans.
Dolphins are entirely in support of this goal, and are collectively demonstrating willingness to meet humans half way, by increasing their presence at natural tours and dolphin excursions that are becoming very popular in many coastal regions. Rather than being consigned to aquariums, dolphins would much prefer to meet humans in safe waters, and will take extra steps (or leaps) to be able to meet humans under biologically compatible conditions.
There are dolphins who allow themselves to be captured; they serve as voluntary emissaries so that humans may learn more about dolphins, and hopefully those humans will be stimulated and inspired to treat the dolphin with more kindness and consideration. Sadly, wild dolphins allow themselves to adapt to humanistic, commercial aquariums, but there is an aspect of being leashed and displayed at will that is detrimental to the harmony and spirit of the dolphin. Thus, the dolphin can not truly expected to be "at his best" when he is also on display.
To truly see a dolphin at his best, it is best to go to his home, and see how the other half lives. There are plenty of oceans and beaches around the world, and there are plenty of dolphins who would be happy to hit the hot spots to make the party complete. Dolphin Tours are an acceptable enterprise, as they interact with dolphins and do not enslave or exploit dolphins, and anyone who sees dolphins on such trips will know that it is entirely voluntary on the part of the dolphins, and thus is a true meeting of equals.
Druids believe in co-existent Harmony, and humans are finding more conclusive proof that this is also what dolphins believe in, and they don't mind saying so, when humans will listen.