Monday, March 18, 2013

Seals and Sunset Philosophy

Last Friday Chris came home from work earlier than usual, shot through the door, and demanded that I go to the beach with him while he surfed so that I could photograph the sunset. I hesitated at first because I had just sat down to sip my daily afternoon cup of coffee with the intention of completing a lesson from the online Photoshop course that I'm taking, but, his persistence (he is so very persistent) paid off and within five minutes I was sitting in the passenger's seat of the car with the warm mug of coffee in my hands and the camera bag at my feet. In retrospect, I'm glad I was persuaded to go because it's usually the unexpected moments that teach you the most about life.

We arrived at the ocean with an hour left of sunlight. Chris was happy because there weren't any other surfers in the water and I was happy because the people we parked next to had a cute little Pitbull with them and you know dogs can always put a smile on my face - Chris and I are both people with simple pleasures.

And no simpler pleasure exists than beholding the beauty of a sunset - just sitting back and letting nature do it's thing. This particular sunset began boldly, casting a bright golden hue so dangerously appealing you almost couldn't avoid staring at the sun.

As a sideliner I wandered along the breezy shore looking for more simple pleasures, which I soon found.

*The ubiquitous Bob Marley 

I soon came upon what I thought was a dead seal washed up on the cliffs. Southern Californian has had an alarming incidence of malnourished seal pups wandering along the shores lately and no one seems to know why. I'd already seen two dead ones on past trips to the beach so I figured this would be no different. Definitely not something I would consider a simple pleasure but I walked closer to get a better look and saw it's belly softly rise up and down, apparently breathing. I let out a sigh of relief and it woke up and looked at me.

A couple who had been strolling along close by walked up and said that they thought this same seal had been hanging around the same spot for a few days and that it might be sick. This was very sad news to me so I tried to contact several seal rescue agencies in San Diego but to no avail - my phone's signal was too weak at the bottom of the cliffs. As i frantically walked around in circles, staring at the reception bars on my phone, the seal got up, headed towards the water, and disappeared.

This made me feel a little better since even if I had been able to get in touch with a rescue team there would have been nothing to rescue when they arrived. Not too long after I watched this seal go into the ocean I stumbled upon another small seal also emerging from the cliffs. It, too, waddled to the water and swam off.

I want to believe these two are healthy and were just taking a nap. I don't know anything about standard seal behavior so I don't know if sleeping at the bottom of the cliffs and then wading into the ocean at sunset is normal protocol, all I do know is that lately seal pups are literally starving for some unknown reason and as many as a dozen of them have been rescued in one single day. My pessimism usually outweighs my optimism but in this situation I'm going to hope that these two are okay. The spectacular sunset that night just couldn't prove otherwise so I'm taking it as a sign from above that all is well. 

I mean, look at this:

Look. At. This.

 I would think that with something so grandiose happening in the sky that everything underneath it would be in good hands...and I'm not even religious.

But if we are, indeed, left up to our own devices in a world where beautiful sunsets don't mean a theological thing, I certainly couldn't wish for a better place to keep chugging along, appreciating the simple things in life, until the end.

PS - If you live anywhere along Southern California and you spot what looks to be a seal or seal pup in danger, call Sea World rescuers at 1-800-541-SEAL. If that doesn't work you can try calling animal control or even the police; I read an article in which a San Diego police officer personally went to Sea World to get someone to rescue a seal pup that had washed ashore.


Anonymous said...

Hooray for spontaneous beach runs, baby seals, and uncrowded surf!


Anonymous said...

Hmmm...I wonder if my apartment management would let me keep a baby seal. ; )

Ana Maria said...

Tell them it's a rescue seal, we can even get it a little vest!