[the start of something]
When I was still living in California I happened upon an elephant seal. I was running on the beach outside of San Carpoforo, early in the morning. I almost jogged into it, abruptly halting to a stop, sand skidding around me. I saw the undulating folds of what I thought was a rock begin to move.
It rolled over and looked at me languidly. One of its eyes surveying the shapes that my body was making, the grey colors that pieced together some un-threatening form. I stood for a while and watched this gigantic mass of oily skin and piece after piece of folded puckering elephant seal. They have a kind of long tubular nose. I don’t know how long we both sat there. Eventually he began to shake in small jolts, so I backed slowly away. I can imagine the scene of girl and elephant seal viewed from the water. Two physically different creatures. One contemplating the others physical imprint, and the other contemplating flopping back over for more napping.
I’ve heard that Elephant Seals can be violent with humans, taken by surprise their innate urge to protect their habitat trumps their own good nature. We had an understanding, this creature and I. For some reason it was alone, as was I and maybe our solidarity was what kept our meeting peaceful. It was the magic of the time, of the place. The same weekend I saw bioluminescence for the first time, undulating with each wave that breathed deeply in and out across the sand. Opening up it’s tiny blue body to us in the lateness of early morning.
My experiences with nature are often of this sort. Usually more gratifying than my interactions with most people, random and important.