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Purgatory - Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019
Friday, Dec. 05, 2003 @ 8:20 pm
My heart tumbling in the waves on the shore. That image, my hallucination, became real before me. Soft and seeping blood, it gently rocked there.
I saw it from up on the cliff. I was in an arbutus tree, nearly overhanging the cliff, pruning branches for the deer orphans. Left arm full of red-barked branches, right arm tightly around the soft cool trunk, eyes out over the white-capping ocean. I look down and the branches fall from my grasp, skidding tumbling down the cliff face, bouncing lightly on the gravel beach below. There rests a harbour seal washed up by the springtide.
The seal's colouring looks like Trumpet's. I start to run along the top of the cliff to the beach access. I slide down the path and land ankle-deep in the high tide. Across the face of the cliff I climb, the waves breaking and spraying up below me. The shale breaks off in chunks in my hands and I'm scrambling to keep out of the seething sea. I reach the tiny gravel crescent where the seal lays and brace myself in preparation for the sickening pile of flesh. A seagull squawks and flies away with an eyeball.
It's an adult male, about 120 pounds. I pull him up further on the beach by his back flippers and roll him over with the toe of my boot. There is the hole, and blood still seeps from the gunshot wound. I look at his face and he is a stranger - not one of our beloved orphans. But still, I look out across the pass at the lilting trollers that whirr past.
I gently roll the seal back into the waves; his blood has stained the beach and the water a deep dark red.
Do I take this all too seriously? To someone, it is just a sick game. I've given every ounce of myself to the seals for the last four months, and then someone else looks down the sight of a shotgun and pulls the trigger. All my heart, all my love invested in those trusting eyes. The trusting eyes, my heart, rolls there beached on the shore as the tide peaks then recedes.