Thursday, September 16, 2010
I have a small pink notebook. I randomly write stuff in it, addresses, quotes, scriptures etc. There is no rhyme nor reason as to where anything might be found so I have to scrabble through the whole thing to find anything. The other day I was frantically searching for a phone number when a photo fell out on my lap. It was a grainy picture of my left arm reaching out to a seal. I had taken the picture myself....the only one I have....to remind me of a beautiful friendship I enjoyed for a whole summer. One sparkling summer day in July '07 some of us set out from Kilmore Quay for the Great Saltee Island, more about that some other time. Our glorious day ended and we waded out to the waiting boat to take us back to the main-land Juliet sat on the port-side gunwale and I on the starboard....we dangled our feet in the sea as we sped through the waves. I spotted a seal following us and I dangled my hand into the water, what happened next will always thrill my heart. I felt a pair of strong jaws take my hand, but gently. I hadn't intended trying to touch the wild creature but he had other ideas. As Kilmore Quay came into sight the seal continued, swimming alongside, ''holding'' my hand. I was enchanted. There were in fact two of them but my seal was obviously very old, seaweed growing down the centre of his back and a cataract on one eye. I fell in love. We came and went to Fethard that summer and often returned to Kilmore Quay, I always brought some fish with me and I would wade into the water at the slip-way. Sure enough my seal always came and gently accepted the proffered fish. He would then roll over and let me rub his tummy, then as silently as he came he would slip back into the waters of the harbour. Seals are wild and can be dangerous, ironically our friendship took place under a large sign which read. ''Do Not Touch or Feed The Seals''. I would become so engrossed in our play that I hardly noticed the crowds of tourists watching and filming the ''Strange Irish Seal Woman''. My last visit to the Quay was in late September and when I looked into my seal's old, sad eyes I knew I would never see him again. The following year the younger seal was there, alone. I feel blessed and privileged to have experienced this love. I often think about it and wonder, ''why me?'', then I hug myself and thank God. When life seems fraught, sad or difficult I either wander out to the garden and the fields or dig deep into the well of beautiful memories such as this. Have a lovely day.