Today felt like spring—the sun was shining, the birds were singing—and I decided that Puma and I would take our walk along Alki Beach. Mom’s memorial service was yesterday, and spring was her favorite season—it felt like an appropriate way to celebrate her life.
As we approached the Alki Bathhouse I saw a crowd and the familiar yellow tape. A six-month old harbor seal was being watched over by Seal Sitters, a wonderful, local volunteer group who had cordoned off an area of the beach so that she could remain undisturbed while ashore.
It was difficult to see her at first, her mottled coloring camouflaged her perfectly, blending her with the large piece of driftwood she was sheltering against. A movement finally drew my eye, while at the same time Puma’s nose alerted him. Puma was very excited, but I told him he could not play with the pup—besides being protected under the Marine Wildlife Act (it is unlawful to disturb them in any way), seals can carry diseases that are communicable to dogs.
I was without my camera, and debated whether I should return home to get it. What finally decided me were thoughts of my mother’s recent passing. It would be another way to celebrate life; Mom would have loved seeing the photos. They could also be a cool gift from Aunt Rose to her nephew and niece, Christian and Anya, attending their joint birthday party 3000 miles away at that very moment.Returning with camera in hand, I secured Puma to a nearby sign (coincidentally one about Marine Wildlife); he was too interested in the seal, and I did not want to risk his breaking away while I was distracted. A little later I observed him sneaking an opportunity to lie in the sand, which he loves.
The seal was very still, and as I listened to the volunteers from Seal Sitters graciously answering numerous questions I learned that this little girl had been there since yesterday around 8 a.m., and that she had been named Sea Star by two young girls from Issaquah.
From time to time Sea Star would move, rolling from a resting position and making efforts to right herself. Propelling herself with great effort, it appeared as though she was headed to the water. At her current rate of movement it would take her a very long time to get there.
In case she needed assistance I sent Reiki to the situation, and to her, letting go of attachment to outcome, and was guided to build her a Bridge of Light in the event of her passing—something I hoped would not be needed any time in the near future.
However, the future is an uncertain one for her, and for other pups like her.
In conversation with Robin Lindsey, a volunteer whose wildlife camera lens I envied, I learned that seal pups are weaned between the ages of 4-6 weeks of age! Seal milk is about 50% fat, so while they are nursing the pups get quite plump. And that fat is important, for once weaned they must learn to hunt on their own; in the meantime they use the fat reserves to keep them going. Due to parasites, disease, poor hunting skills, predators and a variety of other factors, only about 50% of seal pups survive to see their first birthday. Sea Star was on the thin side, and after at least 24 hours without eating she must be feeling weak. I was told that if she was still on the beach tomorrow she would probably be moved by wildlife rescue for evaluation.
While taking photos, I was joined by my neighbor Rory, and her mother, Janet, visiting from Vermont.
A very small puppy was just behind us, and he wanted to say hello in a big way. Maybe it was the Reiki energy, maybe it was just that all three of us are animal people, but Turner the puppy glued himself to Rory, sitting at her feet. As I crouched to say hello to him, Turner broke away from Rory and sat at my feet. Apparently that was not close enough—Turner rose onto his hind legs, reaching as high as he could, which, since, he was very small, was not very high. So I brought my face down close to his, and received a gift I sorely needed after the death of my mother, a great quantity of very eager puppy kisses right on my nose!And Turner was not done with me yet, as his person led him away he stopped dead and looked back at me for some time—long enough for his person to stop and wonder what he was doing. He wanted me to take his picture, so I did. Thank you, Turner, the kisses were wonderful and so is the memory (especially in light of the puppy story contained in the eulogy that my sister, Francine, wrote in Losing Mom, Finding Mom).
Leaving the volunteers to their vigil with Sea Star, I retrieved Puma. As we walked home, I thought of Mom’s passing, and of her grandchildren laughing, bouncing, and sliding at their party; of the joy of puppy kisses, and the struggles of one little seal to make it to adulthood. The Wheel of Life, endlessly turning from death to birth, and birth to death. Perhaps every day we are alive should be consciously celebrated as birthdays; once a year is too long a wait.
Postscript: As I was preparing this post for publication I discovered on the Seal Sitters Blubberblog that Sea Star crossed over earlier this afternoon—apparently she needed the Bridge of Light sooner rather than later. Sea Star, may your spirit find great joy while swimming in the currents of Light in the oceans of Love.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE
You are welcome to share this article with others by email, on your blog or to your mailing list so long as you leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. All links must remain in the article. And, you must include the copyright notice and the following paragraph.
©2010 Rose De Dan. All Rights Reserved. www.reikishamanic.com
Think Outside the Cage
A pioneer in Reiki and shamanic healing for people and animals, Rose De Dan has seen firsthand the profound healing impact of this work on the lives of others. A Reiki Master Teacher, mesa carrier in the Peruvian Q’ero tradition, and animal communicator, she teaches classes, workshops and teleclasses for those interested in learning more about energy medicine.
Rose is also author of the acclaimed book Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism, and creator of Animal and Reiki Art. As an animal shaman, she views her role as a healer as one of building bridges between people and animals, and of empowering them to reconnect with Pachamama, Mother Earth.
To receive notice of future articles and events, sign up for our newsletter.