I was lucky this morning. Shortly after 8 am, I strapped my dusty green paddleboard to my dirty blue car and made the short drive down to the harbor. I scored a prime parking spot right next to the beach. Somehow, months had passed since my last paddle. Even though I adore being on the water. Even though the ocean is so close.
The rocky breakwater is like a trendy cocktail bar where the prehistoric looking pelicans, common seagulls and occasional snowy egret like to see and been seen. There’s always that one obnoxious guy that just shrieks incessantly – “Look at ME!!!” while others make a a big feathery show of showing how much they don’t care.
I paddled out to the end, where there are often some sea lions hanging out. Today there were none, so I headed out of the harbor towards a red buoy. Typically there are four to six sea lions squished together on this little round piece of prime ocean real estate. When it is full, others will swim around and around, looking for an opening, sometimes knocking off another one in the attempt to join the heap.
But today there was just one fine lady sunning herself, belly out, top flipper flopped up, in a posture of complete luxuriant relaxation. I smiled. People like to say that animals don’t have thoughts, or understand the passage of time, but I know she knew how very privileged she was in this moment, and was enjoying herself to the max.
They might take many forms, but we all need these moments of pure pleasure, where the only thought is how lucky am I to be here. My friend the sea lion knows this. As wonderful as it is to have all the space you need, I know she knows she would be lost without other the sea lions. The world exists for their enjoyment, too. She won’t put up a fight when it is someone else’s turn to rest on the buoy. She also won’t not take the opportunity to delight in the sun, the sea, her own private hideaway.
As I was strapping my wet green paddleboard back on to my dirty blue car, a man in a white truck asked if I was coming or going. “I’m leaving,” I replied.
“I’ve circled this lot twenty times,” he said.
Maybe he didn’t recognize the privilege of a primo parking spot since it was hard to find. But eventually he got it.