Yesterday I was standing on a beach on Maury Island, looking across Quartermaster Harbor to the Burton Peninsula on Vashon Island. There was a break in the hard drizzle, and the sun was still high in the sky and on the water. I saw an eagle, a seagull, and some kind of diving bird, which rose above the water, and then punched the beak first to snatch a smelt or a herring out of its path.
My friend J had asked for a singing lesson; earlier that day, he had asked me what a melody was. Anyway, we’re standing on the beach; actually it was probably a rocky tide flat, as barnacles clung to every rock. I ask him to sing Happy Birthday to me, we play “match pitch” and “knock over that object with your voice;” you know, the usual first voice lesson. At one point we were both singing “I Will Survive.”
Anyway, the best part was that a face popped out of the water to watch us. It was a small, dark face that was the same color as the dark ripples in the water. “Is that a seal?” I ask, and my friend said, “Yep, that’s awesome.” And we continued our lesson.
Later, back at the house, we were talking with a L, who has lived on that property for years. Yes, he said, that seal pop’s his head out of the water when I go out there to sing. He told of a nephew, who was also down at the water singing, and had also been startled by a face in the water.
Apparently this seal investigates human singing. Seems reasonable. If I lived on that island I’d be singing to that seal all the time. I would call him Seal, and sing Kiss from a Rose to him. I have always wanted to be on a first name basis with any marine mammal, outside of nutrias.
I’d like to imagine that the seal enjoyed our singing lesson, or that it approved. It didn’t complain, at least.