The blank page stares at me, wanting words. It’s spring, finally! We should all celebrate the end of another season of torrential rains, bombing cyclones, atmospheric rivers, hurricane winds, unexpected hail, royal tides and much more. We created it! Now is the time for regeneration and growth.
There really is no place like the coast. The cool, temperate weather of the Marine Zone is simply the best. It is almost never too hot or too cold. One of the hidden benefits is that in the event of a power outage, at least most of us are not subjected to extreme temperatures that cause such harm to people and pets.
Yet across the country, people continue to dig in the heavy snow. The roads are still icy. Mud season has started in some places. Tornadoes and wildfires have already started. There is a heat peak in the southwest estimated at 15 to 25 degrees above normal temperatures. It’s 96 degrees in Phoenix, Arizona. We are quite lucky.
It’s also a good time to remember all creatures, big and small. Our pollinators begin their work as the flowers begin to bloom. Our winter hummingbirds will soon be joined by seasonal workers helping the rhododendrons and azaleas to bloom. Flowering weeds such as dandelions, among the first to appear, will keep our friends the bees busy. It’s often the bees’ first meal, so hopefully it doesn’t contain any chemicals.
This time of year reminds me of another adventure we had many years ago learning the paths of the coast.
We were enjoying a typical morning getaway on the beach with our pack of dogs. The tide was very low, creating great swimming spots. I decided to walk two of my dogs and the rest of the group stayed with my husband, collected the bumper and swam.
As I was traveling across the sand, I saw what appeared to be a huge dog standing alone with a group of crows. But as I approached, I realized it was a gigantic bird of prey, a sparrowhawk, a falcon, an eagle or an osprey. I then noticed that there was something small in the sand at the feet of the bird, and this predator was leaning over the object.
My heart skipped a beat thinking it might be the little seal pup I had seen the day before. Of course, if the seal was dead, it was fair game for the bird’s dinner. I decided to go on and let nature take its course, but then my body decided otherwise. Instead, I walked with my dogs on a leash as I surveyed the situation. They approached respectfully.
The bird flew a short distance and was not afraid. That’s when I saw it was a different baby seal and was still alive. It looked like it was stuck in the wet sand, but upon closer inspection it wasn’t. As I approached he watched me beg for help with half his face covered in blood.
Knowing never to touch these marine animals, I immediately called Oregon State Parks to find out what to do. I walked away from the seal and released the dogs. The woman on the phone said she would send a ranger but then asked me to call a number directly. While all of this was going on, the dogs tried to shoo the bird away, but this time it came back to the pup.
The dogs basically took over, moving the bird, then started circling the pup at a distance, running in opposite directions, literally one clockwise and the other counterclockwise. reverse. They passed each other, each creating a perfect boundary with full vision on all sides of the circle. As this was happening, the tide touched the little boy and he began to come to life as he rushed with all his might towards the water.
All the while, my dogs circled protectively and the predator watched, waiting for an opportunity. My dogs moved with the pup until he was in water deep enough to be safe. They escorted him out to sea. I was on the phone and told the operator what had just happened, and we both couldn’t believe it. Good dogs! Very good dogs!
My dogs knew exactly what to do not to scare the pup, or the bird for that matter, but to save time. Of course, I know now that I should never have sent the dogs. This is a ticketed offense and luckily I was not cited after confessing. It was an impulsive decision while I sought help.
Just as a thought, it’s interesting how intertwined we mammals are. Maybe we have more human-animal bonds than we realize. It is also a powerful reminder to help those in need. Let’s not forget that when it comes to parody in Ukraine.