Cormorants

Definitely my favorite beach. I used to climb that slanted rock in the middle of the picture, in the background, and sit with my back against that block that is sticking out from the line of the slant. And watch my beloved cormorants cruise by, often in pairs, below my vantage point, almost skimming the water, then curving upwards to land and cling to the wall of their colony rock. I was enamored with them for some reason. Perhaps partly because of the way they clung to the near-vertical cliff walls, with their leathery black feet; and peered around, left to right, almost ceaselessly, as if they were always looking out for danger. One day I stood below the closest cormorant I have ever been near – about 20 feet in distance, almost straight up – and stared at it: it peered around nervously a few times, spotted me and fixed its gaze on me, as if panicked slightly. Then I believe – maybe just fancy – I could perceive the moment when it realized I was safe and friendly, and it could relax a little and stare back at me in wonder with its glittering, now softened black eyes. Wonder and fondness – just like I had for it. Such things remind me how we are the stewards of the earth – with such a capacity for love of the fascinating creatures, and they with such a reverence for beings like us, in the image of God himself, and we stand there and adore them, earth’s splendid little ornaments.

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