I am more than a little fascinated by the cats that live in the rocks at the beach. I have only seen them a few times at one beach where I walk.
But I realize that most of their days are spent blending in, so it just may be that they were always there, watching me.
One day last week, I was taking an evening walk ... at high tide and I walked into what seemed like their evening ritual -- sitting out on the rocks while people promenaded.
It was the second day in a row that I started my walk right before high tide. In practical terms this means that I could not walk on the wet, packed sand.
Instead, I was trudging through the just wet and very dry sand, trying to stay out of the cold waves.
That day, I headed towards the lighthouse, and for the first time ever, walked along the upper ledge, the part that creates a cliff above where I usually walk.
It was rough going, and I glanced over at the big rocks that separated the paved path to the lighthouse from the beach.
No shoes, so scrambling over the rocks would tear up my feet. But on the other side, there would be no dry sand ... I didn't even think to the way the asphalt would tear up my bare feet.
It turned out as I walked towards the point that I could almost make it to the other side without having to climb over the rocks... just a few big, but climbable rocks, stood between me and the other side.
I finally made it over after stopping to watch the waves break against the sand ledge.
As I looked back, there was no trace of my path ... just a ton of sand. But as I stood there, catching my breath before heading back, a sea lion popped his (or her) head out of the ocean. He/she stayed there for a minute looking at me. Someone joined me at the ledge and tried to tell me it wasn't a sea lion ... he was obviously confused about what "sea lion" meant as he told me over and over that it couldn't be a sea lion because those animals were big and ugly.
This was a smallish sea lion -- I insist because they are the most likely visitors around her -- with a small and slender head. He/she flipped down into the water and didn't surface again while I stood there.
But on the way back from the lighthouse, so many cats were out on their rocks. Many watched as the people and dogs walked by -- defiantly staring down and only turning to go when they tired of the show.
One sat atop his/her outcropping, watching the ocean, I imagined. I think in all I saw at least ten ... and then there all the ones that were watching me.