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    “Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.”

    Amelia Burr

    I try to take the girls on an outdoor adventure every day, rain or shine, and last week was no exception.  It was a blustery day when I packed a lunch and the three of us headed to Mack Laing Park.  (Pip likes to call it, “The Creek.”)

    Fig has been to The Creek many times in-utero, in the Baby Bjorn, and in our MEC backpack baby-carrier, but she has never hiked the whole trail out to the beach on her own two feet.  For a novice hiker, she was very confident.  She quickly took the lead and boldly toddled ahead of Pip and I on the path.  Fig is a girl who knows her limits though, and when the terrain got a bit tricky at the end of the trail, she reached for my hand .

    We stopped in a cool little ‘fairy-hut’ for our muffin and apple lunch, and the girls danced around inside a beach-fort, pretending they were the children’s singing sensation, “Bobs and Lolo.”  We left the fort to toss a few rocks into the ocean, and it was then that Pip noticed an interesting log on the beach.  As we approached the spotted log, I realized that it was a dead seal pup.  Naturally, the girls were very curious, so I didn’t try to steer them away from the seal, I just asked them not to get too close.

    The baby seal was perfectly intact.  He had a few flies on his nose and a hint of blood around his mouth, but other than that he looked beautiful.  His eyes were deep, black and wide open.  They were so shiny, they almost appeared to be twinkling.  His whiskers gave him a friendly, almost comical appearance like Dr.Seuss’s ‘Lorax’ character.  His entire body sparkled with moisture.  He looked as though he should be able to hoist himself back into the water at any moment; but he was completely motionless.  I wondered what had killed him.

    Fig wanted to pet the seal, so it was a bit challenging trying to keep her away, but Pip was very calm and respectful.  She crouched down close to it and studied it for several minutes.  She was absolutely still and silent.

    The wind was really picking up and it was time to head home for Fig’s nap, so I asked Pip if she wanted to say a little prayer for the baby seal.  “Sure Mama,”  Pip said.  I held Fig in my arms and Pip and I stood on either side of the seal, facing the wind.  I sent a little prayer out to the universe, just acknowledging the life of this gorgeous creature and wishing it well on its’ journey.  I ended with, ‘Peace and Love,’ and Pip repeated, “Peace and Love.”

    We headed home.  After I put Fig down for her nap, I thought I’d better check-in with Pip to see how she was feeling about her encounter with the seal.  She’d been quiet on the drive back.  “Pip, what did you think about seeing the seal today?”

    “It was great, Mama!”  Not exactly the response I had expected from my sensitive girl.  I assumed she must have felt some sadness, and I wanted Pip to know that it was okay to have those feelings.

    “You know,  I felt a little sad when I saw the seal.”  I prompted.

    “Why, Mama?”

    “Well, I was thinking that the seal wouldn’t get to swim around in the ocean anymore.”

    “Oh, don’t worry Mama,” my little sage began, “the seal still has all of its’ power.  It still has all of the power to swim, even though it won’t be able to swim in the water.”

    Sometimes Pip’s words take me aback.  I feel like I’m mothering an old-soul.

    She was being perfectly honest when she happily told me that seeing the seal was ‘great.’  She was excited!  It was fascinating for her to see a seal that close.  She wasn’t connecting the interesting creature on the beach with the notion that its’ life had ended.  To her, it was a scientific discovery.  A fact of Life.

    I thanked Pip for our little talk about the seal.  I got a lot out of it.  Aren’t I fortunate to have such a patient little teacher?


    (I didn’t take my camera on the hike through Mack Laing park, so I’ll leave you with a photo of another local piece of paradise: Goose Spit.)

    2 comments to Power

    • Aurora

      I’ve always thought children brought up on farms have a more realistic understanding of life and death than those of us who haven’t had that opportunity. You were given a chance to expose Pip to the natural step we take after life as we know it and it will bode her well in the future. Now, if her young memory actually remembers it is another question…… Have a good book launch Karen.

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