The outing when I was followed…

Not that long ago, only last month, there was an outing when I was followed.  That same day, in the evening, I sat at the table in our garden with friends and felt I had to tell them about it.  Perhaps you’d like to hear about it too?

I’d looked at the weather forecast the previous evening and it looked good.  It was a Saturday morning and I got up early to go for a wander.  A beautiful day with hardly any wind.  When I got up around 06.30, the sun was already high as I live in Southern Finland.  So, out I went on my own, as I have done very often these last 18 months except for during the coldest, darkest Winter mornings.  I feel I know the area quite well and, as the weather was so good, I decided to go a little further than usual.  I saw a few other people were already out but not many; one of the pleasures of getting up early at the weekend.  I’d spotted a few trees on a rocky outcrop and thought I’d go as far, round the back of them, and then head home in time for breakfast with my family. 

Just a few hundred metres away from the trees is when I hear a loud sound behind me.  Surprised, I turned around, and saw my follower only half a dozen metres or so behind me.  We looked at each other for a moment, I smiled a little as we looked each other in the face, in the eyes; I turned round and continued in a heightened state but as nonchalantly as I could.  A few moments later, I heard the same noise again and looked round.  This time, we fixed each other’s eyes a bit more intensely and longer.  My heart beat fast, I smiled more broadly, and could now feel my body reacting, my head starting to swirl.

These moments did not last long but I remember vividly the sense of euphoria and joy at seeing my follower.  You see, I was out in my sea-kayak on the Baltic Sea, the loud noise I’d heard behind me – which sounded like a whale blowing air (but there are no whales in the Baltic) – was in fact a seal, surfacing!  I had no idea there were seals so close to where I live, in the outskirts of Helsinki, and I’d certainly never thought I might see one.  All kinds of birds (including a sea-eagle that morning) and even deer on the island, but not a seal!  There it was: a beautiful, shiny wet, black seal with big wide bright eyes, staring straight at me and I stared back.  The sea was so calm, the sky with such a thin, high cloud, that it was almost impossible to tell where the horizon split sea from sky.  Quite heavenly already and then, to see a seal following me.  What pure joy, intense emotion, excitement and gratitude!  This morning, I went back to the same area but no seal followed.  Perhaps another time?  I hope so!  

Thomas Jelley

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