AN UNEXPECTED COASTAL ENCOUNTER

 

The rainy day view from Mackworth Island, Portland, ME.

I was walking alone alongside the forested edge of the island, paints in tow, rain plopping on the leaves overhead. Every so often there would be a wet wooden stairway banister jutting from the vegetation edging the path. Each of these stairways promised rocky coastlines and misty gray horizons in their beckoning descent, so I took every one, intent on familiarizing myself with this place for the short duration of our romance. At the bottom, orange and green mosses were strewn like the most fantastical of wigs on slick slate, white stripes sliced through stone, leaves floated in rocky pockets of the craggy shore, the waves came and went. At one of these stairway descents I stood, umbrella'd, daydreaming in the fog. Suddenly, hazily, and very much in the back of my mind, a gravelly sound registered. I considered the far off notion that maybe I had moved my foot without realizing it. Again though, moments later, a gravelly sound, this time much closer and very much not me. I looked down, surprised. There, with inky black eyes staring up at me, was a harbor seal pup! We looked at one another, equally startled and amazed. Finally, the tiny speckled pup within less than two feet of where I stood, decided that it had had enough of sharing the shore with this looming, baffled, red-haired humanoid and wiggled it's way back to the water. This encounter truly made my day. Later I learned that harbor seal pups will beach themselves on the shore in order to rest from swimming. During this rest period, their mothers keep a watchful eye from the water, which of course leaves me wondering if our little unexpected encounter was supervised. ;)