Nomad Life - Visiting the California Elephant Seals

The world has greatly intensified for humans in the past few weeks. The virus has pushed us all to truly sit with ourselves in this time. Many of us are struggling with uncertainty, grief and loss. Even if no one directly related to you is struggling with this virus, everyone is very aware, every day of isolation of the potential hazards and those that are actually very sick. We grieve the loss of humans, we grieve what we had before this all happened and many of us can feel even other people’s grief. So one way or another most of us are in a place of grief. We can feel the global impact on humans, this virus has created, most of us are locked in our homes to wait it out. Yet somehow, all of us, seem to sense that BIG changes are happening because of this pandemic. Somehow in our hearts and our souls we see the impact humans have on earth, animals and nature in general. We are awakening to our full connection to all things alive on planet earth, including the virus itself.

We were very fortunate to spend an entire week in early March on the Pacific Coast Highway where we met the elephant seals. We set up our van each day on the beach and listened to their calls to each other, watched babies suckle their mammas and watched them live as a community. Each day it seemed we would learn more about them and we found out what they had been through. Elephant Seals were heavily hunted in the 18th, 19th century and into the early 20th century by humans. They are REALLY easy to hunt, they mostly lay around on the beach. The hunter didn’t have to work hard except maybe to harvest their 4000-5000lbs of blubber, though humans at that time likely saw them as fuel. Humans hunted this very easy prey until they almost became extinct! The number actually got down to just 50 seals!

Finally, humans found another source of fuel and Mexico began to protect them. Now miraculously they have grown to over 225,000 seals with numbers increasing all the time. We were inspired by the diligent volunteers that are part of the “Friends of the Elephant Seal” as they came out and counted the entire population! They were happy to answer questions and share their joy in their volunteer work. Each time the sun came up or down the seals would ‘bark’ and the babies would ‘cry’ as if they had a ritual to celebrate these great transitionary times we see every day. They honored their transition from an almost extinct population to a growing population of these amazing animals.

As the world began to become infected with this virus, we became aware that these seals had overcome their almost extinct past, they very nearly disappeared because of human hunting. We couldn’t help but contemplate our own future, we have spent the last five years visiting nursing homes — that reality washing away with the waves and seeing change was on its way. Uncertainty is there, yet these seals give us hope that the changes, the EARTH so desperately needed, are happening! That hope is bigger than anyone’s life because it includes all of our lives, including the seals! As the changes unfold before us and we choose to be part of that, we harvest the resilience of survival. Let these amazing seals inspire you, too!

Let these Elephant Seals Inspire YOU!

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