A picnic table at Swanton Berry Farm on the Pacific Coast Highway
Relationships, of all kinds, are the most simple and yet difficult of things. In my head it should be easygoing like this picnic table, a place where you can sit down and share something plain and beautiful, face to face, under a perfect sky. But then there were many days of rain and fog to make the grass beneath this blue table so very green, right?
It’s become an annual pilgrimage, the mating of the elephant seals. For the second year in a row, my dear friend Tony and I have followed a guide around the dunes of Ano Nuevo State Park and marveled at the sights and sounds of these wild, cumbersome and bizarrely shaped creatures.
I am enamored of any mammal that can plumb the depths of the sea. (Jealous might be a better word for it.) I can only go to a hundred forty or so feet, and these days I rarely go near that deep.
These Northern Elephant seals spend all but a few months of the year far out in the ocean, never sleeping, and diving hour after hour from the surface of the waves to beyond the reach of the light. Down, down, down they go, thousands of feet, to feast in the darkness below, the depths to which you or I could never go .. At once a nightmare and a dream.
A Northern Elephant seal sunbathes solo on the beach.