It happens every time. I am not sure how and why but I always know when it does. As I am sitting on the beach, just a couple of feet away from the seals, I sense that my presence is no longer a threat and from there, a connection, a communication is established. They observe me. I observe them. They make a move and wait. I make a move and wait. There is no longer them and me, but Us. We are all part of the same world, we share this beach, this ocean, the air. Our existence is bound to each other, to this Planet. Our goal is the same, to survive, to live.
I start to notice little behaviors, details that had so far escaped my attention. I start to recognize distinct dynamics between each of them. Somehow their body language seems no longer alien to me. They stare at me with their big black eyes. For a moment, I feel like I am having a conversation with them.
Later that day, after walking to another location, I was about to leave when a fox came out of the bush. After walking by a couple of times, he laid down not far from me and waited. I knelt down and slowly moved closer. He yawned. I took the hint that he wanted me to get closer. So I did. I inched myself forward, every time taking new photos, not knowing when he would get up and leave. I was about six feet from him. He would look everywhere then blink at me. After a couple of minutes, he got up and walked away. Just before disappearing, he turned and looked at me once more. I stayed down on the ground for a while, baffled of what had just happened. No need to wonder who was the observer, that Fox had come to me, pose and left.
Nature always surprises me. This encounter with the Fox reminded me of a dive at the Channel Islands in California. I was swimming in the kelp forest and I knew there was a seal somewhere. He kept showing his little face from time to time. As if he was playing hide and seek with me. Always remembering my walk in the forest 25 years ago, I stopped and kneeled on the bottom and waited. No more than 5 minutes had passed when I felt my fins pulled behind me. The little seal was there trying to get my attention. For 30 minutes we played. He would disappear. I would try to find him. I would stop, he would come back.
I never know when those magical moments will happen. In fact, it can be months, sometime years, but they are the reason why I do what I do.