Monday, April 09, 2007

Sleeping with the seals

Thursday April 5, 2007 (Findhorn Bay)

We had skittered and teetered across the shifting pebbles at the edge of a high tide. My ankles hurt and I felt tired. I sank down gratefully on the stones to rest.

The sea tossed the shingle as it moved in and out. A wind brought the salt fresh tang on its tongue. A spring sun warmed my left cheek.

I lay down on the stones and closed my eyes. The pebbles nuzzled themselves into my body, settling into its shape. My head rested on round cobbles and I felt safe and supported. I closed my eyes and surrendered to the wind, the sun and the stones.

The sea came for me, slowly dragging me away. It gently rocked me as it drew me from the shore. I bobbed and rocked, cradled and enfolded in its coolness. The sun was warm on my cheek, the wind fresh on my skin.
In time, I heard the waves crashing upon a shingly shore. The sea brought me gently to rest on the stones of another beech. I lay back and allowed them to greet the shape of me, examine me and enclose me.

The salt smell was stronger here, overlaid with a sour fishiness and the sharp rotting smell of old seaweed. The pebbles shifted and I felt something heavy move slowly towards me.

I was surrounded. I could no longer feel the wind, and the sun on my face seemed warmer now. A heavy rasping breathing soothed me as I felt the presence of big creatures all around me. I reached out and touched rough damp skin. They were seals.

Gulls mewed overhead and the seals surrounding me hummed mournfully. Their sorrowful drone filled my thoughts. A huge sense of loss engulfed me. Salt tears slid from beneath my eyelids, and trickled across my cheeks.

The sun had moved. The air was cooler now. The seals shifted slowly away as a wave licked at my feet. Carefully, the sea came back for me. It bore me away and in time it laid me gently back upon the pebbles. Gulls cried sharply, echoing the mournful song of the seals and I woke from my dream.

My companion sitting quietly beside me said, “It’s ten to four. We’d better get going.”

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