Sunday, January 18, 2009

Curves of Repose


Paul posted some images and text about these sea lions yesterday, but I can't resist adding some more. Groups of them were floating together in Santa Cruz Harbor. They seem to be lying on their sides (though the spatial orientation of a sea lion is complicated by their wonderful fluidity in the water) and resting, maybe actually sleeping. Some have a flipper or tail raised in the sun, some keep their heads up, but mostly they're suspended just below the green surface of the water, and they raise their heads up to breathe now and then, seemingly automatically, without waking. The current carries the group here and there, they drift together. When this group came close to the wharf where we stood, we could hear them breathing, and soon we realized that their collective breath had synchronized -- a collective moist exhalation, at regular intervals. I don't know when I've heard something so soothing; they were completely at ease, in the sun, the very image of contentment, and it made us feel restful to watch and to listen to them. To sleep like that, all together, on what Cummings called "the bulge and nuzzle of the sea"...

3 comments:

Eshuneutics said...

A beautiful evocation of community: image and words.

BarbaraS said...

Love that description. From a distance they look like seed kernels floating on the sea. I wonder what seed kernels sound like..?

Janet Andrews said...

Such a serene image. Water and breathing are the forces within and around us. The sea lions are accepting the moments as they come, responding to the essentials of life, and floating through the rest. I can hear their "collective breath" soothing my busy mind, reminding me to sleep peacefully, rest completely, and be awake fully.

Thank you.