A well-fed harbor seal belly-balances atop a rock in San Juan Channel.
‘OH, THAT CAN’T BE COMFORTABLE.’
Those were my wife, Barbara’s, words as we looked out from our recent picnic spot at Lopez Island’s Shark Reef Sanctuary.
Just offshore in San Juan Channel, a blimp-shaped harbor seal perched precariously atop a nearly submerged rock. This long-whiskered clown of the Salish Sea seemed happy to soak up some sun while somehow managing to maintain its balance.
But no, it didn’t look comfortable.
We’re very lucky in these trying COVID-19 times that we can get out occasionally and enjoy nature on a sunny day without putting ourselves or others at risk. When we had to make a necessary run to the Lopez Island supermarket recently, we took along sandwiches and made a side trip to our favorite all-but-deserted nature park.
Barbara looks out on San Juan Channel from our favorite picnic perch at Lopez Island’s Shark Reef Sanctuary.
The governor’s lockdown order exempts the occasional walk or other outdoor exercise so long as one maintains proper social distance. We encountered only two other hikers on the easy trail through gnarled old firs, chest-high salal, blooming salmonberry and Oregon grape. It was easy to step aside and maintain six feet of leeway as others passed. Privately enjoying an outdoor sandwich with my sweetie during an intermission in our hike seemed like a fair extension of the governor’s intentions.
To sit on sun-warmed rocks, look across to Cattle Point Lighthouse and gaze down on rocky islets crowded with seals was a welcome and healthful alternative to binge-watching Netflix.
Staying home and staying safe is important right now. But nature’s beauty offers balm for the soul if you can find your own private picnic spot.
With leaves still ablush from winter’s cold, spring flowers start to bloom on a sprig of Oregon grape in Shark Reef Sanctuary.