The Seal

"We were suspended in a rock canyon. The pale blue water which clothed us was broken only by the rhythmic release of bubbles which rose to the surface and exploded as sunshine droplets. Time once again was motionless.

We saw him first over our shoulders. Poised on a rock cliff simply being. He turned and looked and turned away. Stealing onward, downward, with unison of movement, he left our vision. Did we imagine it?

Moments later I was gliding between the cliffs and from a boulder beneath, our seal emerged belly up. On his back, he swam parallel and we watched each other. He rolled and rose up towards me in a movement I have yet to understand. His eyes were like dark rock pools of questioning vulnerability and I was filled with an awesome sensation of friendly warmth mixed with a hint of fear.

We were in his world — an environment where there are no words to confuse the raw emotion of wonder. He swam with us, between us, below us and in front. We were no longer two and one, we were three. I felt a rare tranquility and here at last I knew a sense of belonging to this borrowed world.

Slowly, he brought us to the surface, turned, and disappeared into the blue vastness of his home."


©Niamh McAnally 1987 Subsea Magazine.


After unpacking from a recent trip, I found the above piece of flash fiction tucked into the liner of my case. Hope you enjoyed this dive with the wild seal.