Talking to Mr. Seal

As I walked along the seashore, a harbor seal appeared, bobbing, undulating, head up, head down. He was so close I could see his whiskers. For half a mile, I waved and yelled, “Hello, Mr. Seal!” as he paralleled my course. At times, I thought he might make landfall and perhaps inspect up close a mammalian species that was clearly dumber than seals because it didn’t return to the sea as part of its mammalian evolution. I do love those mammals who returned to the sea to live. They are fascinating.

I kept walking and waving and talking to the seal. Was I losing my mind by engaging him? Or finding it? What does it say that a 53-year old man in considerable existential distress thought talking to a seal in the ocean a sound idea at preserving his mental health? That’s what goes on these days. Talking to gulls, seals, eagles, herons, elk, coyotes…and yes, otters. I’ve had an otter encounter recently. It might be of significant Oregon historical significance as sea otters find a way to make their return to the Oregon Coast. Naturally, the wildlife biologists thought me deluded.

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