I was walking home along the Clyde after the first day of a three day training course. I had done that exact training course less than a month earlier but an admin error and subsequent bureaucracy led to my having no choice but to repeat it so there I was, tired, irritated, walking along the river. Whilst walking I went on autopilot and crossed a bridge I hadn’t intended to cross. Thoroughly fed up and hoping no one around me noticed, I turned and headed back the way I came. For whatever reason I chose that moment to stop and look out over the side of the bridge and made eye contact with something in the water. My first thought was that it was a dog, a dog that had fallen into the Clyde and now too cold and tired to paddle itself to safety. For a moment adrenaline shot through me as I wondered if I would have to take off my shoes and jump in to help it.
But it wasn’t a dog, resting upright, so perfectly still. The creature kept looking at me with round dark eyes, its nose and whiskers just poking out on top of the water. The sun was setting and the river and the creature were just about the same colour, but I could just make out the outline of its tale from beneath the water. It considered me, curiously, for a second longer then swam lazily away. Under the bridge, out of sight.
The elation hit after it had glided on, a giddy rush that made me want to grab at the other people on the bridge and tell them, look! A seal! My first wild seal! I wanted to run across the busy lanes and lean over the other side and see if I could see it again but I didn’t. I walked home in a haze, self aware enough to reflect on how silly it seemed now that five minutes earlier I was complaining about something as trivial as repeating a course.
I got back on the path I should have been on. It was now pitch black, but the moon was so bright. A lot is said about the beauty of a full moon, but I do think this moon was lovelier. The tiniest sliver lighting the sky. A curved fish bone, thin as a whisker.