The Bliss of a Nursing Sea Lion

January 18, 2010
Do you ever watch animals and imagine what it would be like to be them?

Ecuador and Peru Travel Report # 7 and Visual Viewpoint: Mother and
Child on the Beach

Nursing sea lion

We found this sea lion mother comfortably lolling on the beach of Bartholomew Island in the Galapagos with her pup contentedly getting a meal of warm milk. How lovely to have your mom handy for a quick snack.

Since I enjoyed nursing all my children, I can imagine the mother is also enjoying the experience. However, if I were the pup, I can’t think I’d like to have to swallow bits of stone from the ground. But I guess he (or she) doesn’t know any better.

This reminds me of what I sometimes do when I watch animals: I imagine myself in their shoes, or skin if you will, when they are eating or doing something I don’t do, I wonder how I would feel about that activity, or lack of activity. I wonder what it would be like to have to be a horse and stand around a stable most of the day unable to play on my computer, or be a cat locked up in the house with no other cats around and no book to read, or a caged salamander staring into space. And don’t get me started on what I imagine their food would taste like. But I realize they have different taste buds and haven’t experienced an In-and-Out burger, a barbecued chicken sandwich, or a poached egg on toast, which I’m going to have in a few minutes when I finish this.

Glad they don’t know what they’re missing or they might go out of their minds with envy on the one hand or, on the other, gratitude they don’t have to pay taxes, deal with the Middle East conflict, or wait in line to fill their gas tanks.

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