Monday, July 6, 2015

Thoughts on Elephant Seals

Man, do I LOVE ladies who dress up all piratey! These gals were especially fun, vibrant, beautiful women!
      I know, right? What the what?!? On our last trip to California,  I was able to attend not one, but TWO awesome Pirate Festivals right on the coast. These are the kind of moments when I just have to stop and think,"Wait....REALLY? For my freaking JOB, I get to dress up like a pirate, and play dress up with other awesome women on the beach. This is my life!!" It's truly times like this that make the stress and drama of the job worth it.

       My favorite part of my last adventure was not planned. We were traveling along the gorgeous Pacific coast, and just in case any of you imagine that the whole California coast looks like sunny beaches, bikinis, and endless parties, you are incorrect. I drove the WHOLE thing, and most of it is FIERCE and daunting and captivating and jagged and.....well...here's a picture down below. With the exception of the Pacific Coast Highway winding its way down the whole thing, most of it probably looks like it did when explorers and pioneers were forging their way to this glorious state! 
      We had been driving for about two hours, and were almost to our hotel. We had screaming kids in the back of the car, and all of us needed to go to the bathroom, when we saw a road sign that said, "Caution: Elephant Seal Area". I didn't think much of it, because usually when you see signs warning you of possible wildlife, you get excited, only to be let down...nothing but natural vegetation and absolute absence of said animals. 
        However, a couple minutes later, we rounded a corner, and saw a beach with HUNDREDS of these lumpy elephant seals! 

        We excitedly pulled over and went to a "viewing area" that they had set aside, with fences for the possible idiots that might try to go and frolic around on the beach with these massive sea animals. Immediately, I was struck by the NOISES coming out of these things! I would describe it as a mix between the raptors from Jurassic World and a flushing toilet...with maybe a little bit of chainsaw thrown in there. The calls they were making were loud, boisterous, and almost joyous! 

         Most of the elephant seals were just sort of lying around, crammed next to each other, sprawled out over one another, and just lounging without a care in the world. There were two males that seemed to be fighting over who was the alpha, and they were rearing back, yelling, and slapping each other, as well as snapping at each other with their strange, floppy nosed maws! 

         Holy night, these animals were the most beautiful, ugly things I had ever seen! At one point in time, my sister and I started to wonder if they were perhaps animals that God had made the very last, when he was tired and just wanted to get it over with. It looked as if he had just grabbed a wad of "matter dough" and started roughly rolling it out on his Celestial table until it was sort of a lumpy, oblong potato, and then had thrown some fins on it, slapped a floppy blob of matter clay on for its nose and called it a day, as he chucked it into the ocean. 
Freaking out about how awesome this hat is. This makes my 6th hat from this company. Yup. 
       Here's the thing though.....that was the CHARM of the animals! They were so...uh....unapologetic? I watched one "gluggidy-gloob" out of the ocean (I can't think of a proper verb to describe how it moved.) and the layers of blubber and fat shuddered violently with each explosive leap forward.  These things were MASSIVE, and every move made all their fat look as if it were vibrating.  But, guess what? All of the humans LOVED them! Everyone was camera-crazy-snapping away, amazed, awed, and astounded! Everyone was...well..excited about how fat they were!  I think that is one of the things that I absolutely adore about things in nature. They are so much at peace with their being in this world. I mean, sure there were still the big male butt-heads fighting each other, but even that was beautiful. Nature is at peace with itself. It is not apologizing to anyone. The elephant seals aren't caught up with trying to be more flopperific than the next floppy, "Squidward" nose. 
      I think I want to endeavor to start viewing the people around me in a similar was as I viewed the elephant seals. Yes, they were different from me and had led different lives, but I was so INTERESTED in them! I was freaking out about how awesome they were. I had JOY as I discussed how God crafted them! I thought they were beautiful, living their life, making their noises, biting each other, and jiggling their fat. There was not a single time when I was "comparing" one to the next and trying to sort them into categories in my brain. (Oh, that one is the nerd. That one is the cheerleader. That one is the jock. So on. ) I just saw them all for marvelous creatures that were filling the measure of their creation, and sounding like clogged flushing toilets whilst they were doing it! 

     If there's one thing that I've found amusing in my life lately, it's how ACCURATE those dang inspirational posters have sounded to me in my brain.  When I'm thinking about what advice I need most, I think things like, "Follow your DREAMS!" and "Keep At It!"  and "You are the only YOU!" and "You are BEAUTIFUL!" .  Sometimes, the basics are the basics for a reason. I tend to needlessly complicate lots of things about my life, but if I were just laying on the California Beach, looking at the beautiful sunset, and not minding how I jiggled when I moved, perhaps I could have the peace  of the elephant seal. 

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