While walking on the deserted beach with my dog last week, I came across a dead baby seal. It had been washed ashore recently, because it wasn’t decomposed at all. It was about 3 feet long, sleek, and whitish-grey.
My heart broke. She was so beautiful. Her eyes were closed and she looked like a sleeping angel. Even in death she had a little half smile on her puppy-cute face. I stared at her for a long time.
I learned later that surfers had reported seeing two seals in those waters, a mama and a baby. The seals would pop their heads up unexpectedly and scare the surfers until they got used to them.
I wonder about that mama seal now, alone and missing her baby.
Years ago we rented a Coast Guard MWR house at Nantucket for an October weekend. One morning on our walk we saw a rendezvous of seals about 100 yards offshore. There were dozens of them, their slick little black heads bobbing above the surf like a pack of labradors out for a swim.
We were enchanted by them. They just stared back at us mutely as if to say, “What the heck are YOU doing here?”
It’s easy to see how seals have taken on magical properties in folklore and fables. They exude intelligence and personality.
The next day they were gone. I’m sure by now the baby seal has been taken out with the tide too.