The harbor seal pup flapped its way across the sand and stopped. It had traveled five yards. A few minutes later and five more yards. Then another five and five.
It had a little under 500 yards to go to reach the safety of the ocean and perhaps reunite with its mother, if indeed the mother was still alive. Or perhaps the extreme high tide had thrown off any hope of reunion and this was an ultimate lost and not found.
I watched this journey from atop the jetty. At first I stood, then I sat down. I took a few photographs of the pup and then got up and moved across the rocks to parallel its course. I kept my eyes on the pup and almost bumped into a bald eagle perched on an ancient trestle. I stopped. The eagle didn’t move and stared straight at me. I had never felt so panicked in nature. It was like nature was ladling primal energy over me and dissolving something unknown within. I started crying. I had never cried in nature before. The eagle lifted off and I was alone.
Something unprecedented came over me. I became the pup. I entered its consciousness. I could feel my arms flailing in the sand and my body drying up in the heat.
This was no metaphor. This was no New Age channeled crystal blue persuasion (delusion). I was that pup struggling to reach the ocean and perhaps reunite with a loved one and sail on to some new place. I was watching the new ending of my book and I didn’t know how it would end.
There was no way I could watch the pup’s death on the beach unfold in front of me. It was useless to call anyone official to help. I climbed down from the jetty and headed for the parking lot.
On my final look, I saw the pup make another five yards. It found a small depression in the wet sand filled with water, a saltwater bathtub. It rested in the bathtub for a minute or so and then left comfort and went another ten yards. There were more bathtubs ahead the pup might find. I gleaned no hope from this, none.
I sat in the car and cried. I thought: I’m not going to make it. It’s just too far to go.