Seal of Approval

Seal Of Approval

A new friend with expertise in archaeology and anthropology (and a lovely sense of humour) took me to a part of the island of Luing I’d only observed from the road some 60-70 metres above, a few days ago. It was very exciting to be viewing the landscape through her eyes. We approached the beautiful and peaceful bay with caution as it’s dangerously boggy for two women of small stature. You tall ones would survive longer, if trapped, at least.

The shoreline stretched for miles along with the view punctuated only by the occasional wind-scalped tree. On an afternoon of unexpected and delightful warmth, the solitude was unbroken. Or so we thought.

Then I spotted what I thought were several buoys in the water where none had been sighted in the find multiple, moving silky heads instead. Seven seals appeared to be watching our much less graceful progress south along the shore towards what I was told was an unmarked (on any map) feature built by human hands, amongst the rushes and tussocks of grass.

A small, strong and ancient building (of which more later) on the edge of an island in a sheltered natural bay, with deep water close to its walls. Today, the peace was palpable – it was unlikely to have been so for past occupants. As we returned before the early evening light gave out and the bay fell under night’s spell – a lone seal remained, floating, watchful. It was a friendly vigil we felt. Curiousity and enthusiasm visible on both

In legend seals are known as ‘Selkies’ hereabouts – and in many of the islands off Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and Iceland. There are tales of selkie wives and husbands who lure humans to fall in love by shedding their seal-skin and taking human form. I’ve used an image here by the Times newspaper of an individual seal which illustrated a contemporary article about seals visiting other northern coastlines and being observed watching us. They strike me as modest creatures. I’ll bet – even during a stint on dry-land as a shape-shifting human – they would not be inclined to advertise their presence via a seal-selfie’.

There are some parts of the world where celebrity status is not valued above all other.. this seal’s identity will remain unknown. Just in case he or she is a human – in hiding.

I suspect I may have a seal of approval.

Seal Of Approval


About largelyhelen

Designer, photographer, writer.
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