Ruminations with a Seal
The kestrel sat on the wire stalking its prey. Its grand feathers, speckled white and brown, shined upon its chest. It spread its grey wings majestically as it swooped downward into the long grass. It emerged again with a chestnut coloured field mouse dangling lifelessly from its talons – another successful hunt.
She imagined the field mouse’s companions wondering where their friend had disappeared to and then just like goldfish, forgetting their thoughts a moment later; as though the poor, little mouse had never existed at all.
An apple dropped from the tree with a thud, as the wind swept through its leaves. The scent of lavender shaded the edges of the air and floated softly around her, enveloping her; impressions of a haze of purple lined everything around. She dangled her legs from the pier allowing the tips of her toes to touch the icy, cold water. The lake was still freezing from the winter’s snow, even though the sun shone brightly and hung low on the horizon. Too cold to swim in, the lake teased her as she sat in the warm spring air.
A bee buzzed past her ear on its way to the sunflower field, behind the water tower.
‘The life of a bee is so uncomplicated;’ she thought. ‘Hopping from flower to flower, spreading the pollen that gets stuck on its knees; rolling around in sweet honey.’
The light breeze caused the lake to lap gently against the shore. A lawnmower droned in the distance, struggling to tame the wild grasses. She wondered why someone would bother with such a thing; wasn’t grass meant to grow? Wasn’t nature supposed to run free? The only creatures that she could think of in that moment, who always tried to control their surroundings were humans and beavers. At least the beavers’ intentions were always pure.
A pelican swept down and landed on the lake in front of her. She wondered how high a pelican could fly with a beak full of fish and water?
She looked at her pudgy legs, which were pressed against the dock. She could never swim or fly so well as the others. Why wasn’t she majestic like the creatures of the world? Why were humans prone to fatness?
Beyond the old water slide, the one on the rusty pontoon, she could see something bobbing up and down in the water. She strained her eyes to see what it was but she couldn’t quite make it out. It came closer and closer, gliding gracefully, cutting through the glassy, mirror-like surface.
It came to the place where she was sitting and poked its head out of the water.
“Good day, young lady. How are you today?”
She looked at her friendly acquaintance and said, “I’m all right today Mr Seal. Have you caught many fish this fine morning?”
He put his flipper to his mouth and cleared some of the fish bones from his teeth.
“I’ve found the lake today, to be to my level of satisfaction,” Mr Seal replied.
“I was wondering whether you would be able to teach me how to swim,” she said.
“Not just yet, my dear; it’s still too cold in here for those of your species,” Mr Seal answered.
“What if I renounce my species? I want to be a seal, just like you,” she declared.
Mr Seal gave her a pensive look and said, “Why do you say that? Won’t you miss your family and friends? And what about chocolate and hamburgers? We only have fish down here – and to make matters worse, I don’t have any hands,” he said waving his flipper in the air.
“But you are so full of goodness. We are so destructive and greedy. I don’t want to be a part of it anymore.”
“Well I can turn you into a seal and we can swim the seven seas together – but you have to answer one question for me.”
“What’s that?” she asked swishing her legs with excitement.
“If I caught all the fish in the sea and kept them in my net while all the other seals starved – what would you do?” Mr Seal asked.
“That’s easy. I would swim up to you and make you share them,” she replied.
“So, if you become a seal and swim in the seas with me, who is going to be the one to tell all the greedy humans to share?” Mr Seal said.
She thought for a moment and then she looked at the multicoloured sunset. The lawnmower had stopped its distant hum.
“I suppose that I am needed here,” she answered.
“Who are you talking to?” came a voice from behind.
She leapt to her feet and exclaimed, “Daddy!”
She turned back to the lake and she could see a tiny, grey head bobbling in the distance and she waved goodbye once again to Mr Seal.