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The seal lay on the beach inert and black as any other rock. She walked right into him, about to climb up the rock face when the seal turned its head and looked at her. Those eyes, brown liquid seas, golf-ball size globes turning around to stare into her small human eyes saying “what do you think you are doing lady? She half-screams and steps in the sand. the seal has a large textured nose, like clay that has been smushed up into waves. As if someone pushed her nose back into itself, leaving undulations of seal nose skin where the rest of her body is only smooth. Her wide belly turned up on the beach is at least four feet high and is a gradient of browns and blacks. She seems pregnant, or else impossibly large. When her eyes met ours, her expression has the warmth of a mother, but the pleading with us somehow, but for what is not clear, with utmost dignity. Perhaps it is just that, the dignity in her face that touches us. Or the way her eyes were just like ours, communicative as a lover or a mother. Any trace of objectivity shattered.

Seals have been known to have taken the souls of humans, to seduce them into their world, finding humans who can hear their magic. Those humans don’t want to come back. They find the seals, in the water in a boat capsized, as they drown, and the seal greets them at the entrance of another world. The humans grow seal skin and flippers. They learn to dive and splash. They learn more too, how to communicate with what humans call beyond and seals call reality. Humans have such a quaint and boundaried view which of course is excellent for the establishment of human facts. But for some, the desire, heard as an enchanting dirge, never fades.

The silkies start as normal human children who like the sea. Sometimes they grow up and become bankers or lawyers or other professionals, adults for whom the edges of mind have become a cage, not the embrace. Of course, even those who are land-locked know the sea. We are made up of 70% water. The water sings in the blood luring them out. They step out of their offices, loosen their ties, arms stretched out in front of them like zombies. Some of the more expressive ones will toss and break things on their way out the door, shoving the computer out a window and shouting in inarticulate sound. Others just leave in silence and when asked where they are going they say, “I don’t know but I must, I must” They walk for miles. Those who for years just followed the signs on papers, taking orders, following maddening instructions, suddenly find themselves following an invisible trail that leads nowhere recognizable. The strange thing is every step they get more confidence. With every step, the trail becomes wider. They walk through trash heaps, through sidewalks. They take off their shoes and step on the soil.

They are following a song. We must do everything we can to protect the source of the song. So when they arrive at the source, the seals are there to take them back. This seal is generous and takes back those who answer the call. The seal waits. Finding refuge in the small coves that the human leaves behind for her.


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