I remember nothing before this. I arrived here on some current I could not control. I tumbled and bounced. My roughness was smoothed away on the long journey till I no longer cared what I looked like.
I had begun to accept the drowning heavy weight that held me in blackness. And then, under a dark moon I was left here, drying to a dull gray.
I have begun to call her Mother, the one who pulls me in and washes me and then leaves me here again and goes away. (I have seen the mother seals do this with their pups on the far rocks.)
There is such a clamor with many of us rolling in and out of our Mother, though usually I am left alone when she is gone.
I have begun to call him Father who comes around with a slow warmth sometimes and sometimes a bright heat so I cannot look him in the eye. He does not come when the stars are near. I know these are other fathers travelling home, just as mine is.
There is talk from the legged ones that this one or that one is beautiful. They do not know I can hear them. Mother says I am part of a beautiful pattern that is spun out on the sand each time she goes away.
This beauty, she says, cannot be seen from where I am, but that Father and all the fathers can see it. Even the Mother Seals can see it, and any who fly or wander by. She says that Beauty is in what we are together and not in who we are alone.
photos and poem by Catherine Alice Michaelis