I am leading Aki away from this shelf with its balcony seating over a productive pocket bay when we hear the harsh sea lion complaint. (Think a string pulled through the small hole in a tin can). Aki is already to escape under the old growth canopy. Her fur and fleece wrap soaked by snow melt, finished with her nosy examination of the shelf, the cold little dog wants out of this steady shower of snow. The strangle sound coming across the water just encourages her.
Before the sea lion announced its presence, we wandered over the little bench, Aki sniffing and scratching over land otter smells, me taking care not to slip on the smooth snow covered rocks, stopping to honor the beauty produced by happy accidents—-striated rock with rich contrasting colors, hieroglyphs formed by simple erosion, ladle shaped stones carved by tide and harden pebbles. After the sea lion call I take a comfortable if wet rock seat and wait for the singer to appear. Two sea lions swim into view, forcing their pointed noises just above the water, exhaling, then slipping beneath the surface. All business they don’t take time to pose or even raise their huge bulk out of the watch for a better view of the dog and I. Taking the hint I lead Aki off the bench, cross a little headland then drop onto a large gravel beach.
Here the building snow shower wrestles with an emerging sun for weather domination. The battle, soon won by snow, casts the beach in apocalyptic light. Beneath the drama a harbor seal swims slowly toward the dog and I. Unlike her bigger cousins the sweet faced seal acknowledges with with a concentrated stare, a lonely child watching from her bedroom window the neighbor children enjoy a game of hopscotch . With binoculars I focus in on the seal, recognizing the same intense melancholy offered so freely by my little gray dog. Is this the Silkie of Irish legend, Aki’s water borne soul?