How to Greet a Seal like Eva

How to Greet a Seal like Eva

It’s really foggy here today. I can see the end of the dock but not much else out there. The whole world looks like a down pillow from my window.

As Eva and I walked the beach this morning, a curious seal poked her head out of the water to watch. Thanks to the fog and the tide, she was really close, perhaps just 30 feet away. She followed, popping up to see us every 15 seconds or so. Seals never get this close. In fact, Eva has never noticed seals following us until today.

I was standing in the sand at the rounded, low-tide beach right at the point of Sandy Point. Looking back into the neighborhood, with the fog surrounding the brightly painted little homes, was like looking into a snow globe that we ourselves live in. Fog is cool.

Eva raced ahead, pretending to chase a rabbit while really looking for a stick for me to throw. I squatted down to look at the seal from her vantage point. I was a little impressed with myself for thinking of this. Aqua Woman, talking to seals, that’s me.

My actions caused Eva to come running back to the point and look out toward the black waters of the foggy sea with her head tilted into living question mark like a proper Aussie. When the gray seal slipped back up out of the ocean, this time just 20 feet away, I was startled. But Eva’s mouth dropped wide in wonder. Her whole body wiggled. She bounced forward, giddy, into the dark water, until she was chest deep, to meet her new friend. She’d never seen a seal before.

The fog was hindering our vision. The water was ominous and black at that really deep corner where two tides collide and dig in. But Eva wasn’t scared. She was certain that she’d found somebody new to play with. In that moment she trusted her gut, her intuition, the seal’s body language, and maybe, my body language. She sprinted back and around the beach, looking for a stick to share, then bounded back in, hoping for a connection and holding a piece of long seaweed—the closest thing to a stick she could find—in her mouth as a play offering. This time the seal decided to go play with her less brave companions farther out in the water. Eva didn’t take offense. She just kept on walking and enjoying the beach.

I was less impressed with my own seal greeting abilities after watching Eva’s. I’m going to start honing my own intuition, work on trusting my gut, and on recognizing body language I can trust implicitly. Fog and darkness and difference don’t necessarily mean danger. Sometimes they arrive to help you stand at a turning point, mouth open in wonder. Or to meet a brand new soul mate. Next time, I want to greet mine smiling, curious, friendly, and chest deep in their world, not my own. Like my own personal superhero, Aqua Dog Eva.

Aqua Dog

Noticing a Miracle

Noticing a Miracle

Our pair of resident bald eagles have been away from home for more than a month — off on a river fishing working vacation, we’ve heard from other neighbors — after their baby grew up and left the nest in August. I didn’t realize how much I’d miss seeing them every morning out the kitchen windows as I make tea. I miss them.

A few minutes ago, I heard a deep, ominous buzz coming from our bedroom. It was a mean-looking wasp who had flown in the deck door and trapped herself against the door glass trying to get back out. I sprung into action, herding the cats out of the room and then ushering her back outside with a magazine. She didn’t protest: flew out and up immediately.

As my eyes followed her ascent to make sure she was really gone, I saw one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. Way up in the sky, against the sun-touched clouds, there were 40 bald eagles dancing. I counted. As they circled and dipped together, it looked like a well-choreographed waltz: slow, relaxed, rhythmic. I’ve lived 22 years in the Pacific Northwest, and I’ve never seen anything like it. They danced and danced, slowly moving overhead and then inland.

I felt that this is a group of Whidbey-based resident eagle pairs, returning from their river-fishing extended family vacation and saying goodbye here, on the corner of the island, before heading back to their homes scattered across the island. There may be other reasons for who they are and what they were doing, but I know what I saw. It was amazing. And I would have missed it if that big, mean-looking wasp hadn’t decided to help a sister out.

I haven’t been a church goer since I was a kid. Hierarchically organized religions don’t feel right for me. But I believe in miracles. There are reasons for what happens beyond human logic, beyond human thought, and beyond what anyone else says we should believe in. Reasons that come to us from deep within, when we are annoyed, lifted off our feet by a buzzing wasp, only to find ourselves standing open-mouthed, awe-struck, alone and bearing witness to a sky full of dancing eagles.

dancing eagles

My world has blue dragons

My world has blue dragons

yard dragonsMy world
has blue dragons
in the north
orange sherbet-colored dragons
in the south
dragons with long eyelashes
that smell of rain
in the east
and dragons
with sparkling tails
and charming overbites
in the west

Only people
who’ve been here
a long time –
long enough to break open
love deeply –
can see them and
sometimes strangers
even lean
against them
thinking they are streetlamps
or hedges
or sit on them
thinking they are
bus stop benches

I learned
that there are also
tiny purple dragonettes
in the woods
on the island
we just moved to
I saw a picture of one
in a shop
and read their story
in happy hurry

I haven’t seen a dragonette
in person yet
we’ve only been here a month
so maybe they haven’t seen enough evidence
of deep love yet
I’m working on that
and when it gets warmer
I’m going to walk into the woods
sit in a sun beam
and recount our story
so they know
I’m not a stranger here
I lived here long ago
even before they came
and am just returning
so they can stop
disguising themselves
as robins now
if they’d like
stop getting chased
off the path
by our dog