Monday, May 14, 2012

Seal Your Fate

Good day my friends, followers and families. This morning I had intended on writing about the new developments happening in Greece. Well not really new, but things are becoming really intense and on the verge of spilling over into a full blown economic collapse. As I said, I intended on it but then I remembered a promise I made to you as well as to myself: try to move away from all the negative political stuff for a few posts this week. So, let's do that.

I want to share an experience that happened yesterday while I was out walking around Point Pleasant Park here in Halifax. Point Pleasant is one of the bigger parks here and it is now my favorite park to walk around in and get lost in. There are lots of woods, a coastline to walk and of course a large number of pathways (both leash and offleash sections for dog owners). There is so much nature going on inside this small plot of Paradise that it is rather easy to sometimes forget one is inside and surrounded by a city of over 600 000 people. It is also big enough to find solitude; even with all the people who also come here to find some alone time.

What I enjoy most about my time spent at Point Pleasant is the nature. The trees, the water, the rocks and most of all, the animals. To date I've seen a large number of squirrels, several species of birds and a huge variety of canines. Yesterday, I saw a new animal I had previously never seen: a seal. I was walking towards a small beach when I noticed that there was a crowd on the wooden walkway above the beach staring at something. As I got closer and closer I suddenly realized what they were staring at: what appeared to be a beached and dead seal.

I can hear your saddened releases already. I felt the same way. Before I explain what happened next, I will explain what had apparently happened up until this point. About 30 minutes before we arrived, a passerby had discovered the seal on the beach and alerted security. Security telephoned the proper authorities to (Department of Lands & Forests?) come down and tend to the carcass (they never arrived; I was there for another 10-15 minutes after the seal had disappeared). After that, the crowd began to gather. People standing above pointing fingers, cameras and letting out cries and shrieks of sadness for the poor creature. Then, something unexpected occurred when I arrived.

Apparently, not one single person had gone to check the seal. As I was approaching I swore I saw it breathing, but only vaguely. I stopped and watched; the seal was definitely breathing but struggling with this simple task. As I shared this news with the crowd, instinct took over; for a minute. This seal, obviously in need of medical attention, had been sitting in the hot sun on the beach for over 30 minutes at the least without any water. Instinct and knowledge told me to get water to pour over the seal while waiting for the authorities. As I moved forward, the security guard warned me not to approach the animal. I was taken aback, paused and then continued to move. He threatened me again.

Ordinarily I would have told him what for and just done what needed to be done. The true disappointment yesterday, was my action; rather my inaction. Recently, my battle with the legal system in regards to my involvement with Occupy came to a conclusion; however the intimidation and fear factor I thought I had managed to ignore apparently was much more present than I had imagined. I froze. A million thoughts entered in and out of my mind; actions, consequences, repercussions, morality, ethics. So many possibilities; so many outcomes. I am mortified and disgusted in myself to report I did nothing. The fear of repercussions outweighed my sense of right; I defaulted on my humanity and I am still unsure how to deal with this horrible shortcoming and failure internally. I am ashamed.

Just after my arrival/confrontation

I am somewhat content to report that the seal, after another 30 minutes of stop and go crawling eventually made it the 10 feet to the shore and disappeared into the water. However, I say somewhat because, though I am no trained professional, it was apparent this animal needed care. My best guess is garbage it ate; there was a plastic grocery bag, filled with more plastic, empty juice containers and food. The bag was torn open and items hanging out (I picked it up and put it where it should have been: the garbage can). If I had seen another Human Being behaving in the manner of this animal, I would have called 911.

The seal escaping/disappearing

I cannot change what I did, or didn't do. I am battling myself almost 24 hours later and will most likely continue to do so for the next little while. I was in no way responsible for what came to be, but I did have a responsibility to myself; and I failed myself. You might be thinking all's well that ends well, and I hope, truly hope that this animal is not suffering in the wild right now. I hold myself very critically accountable for my actions and words. As a social activist, I make many demands, requests, suggestions that I think people should adhere to and at all times lead by example. I would never ask of anyone that which I am unwilling to first do myself. Today, I ask you to not follow my lead.

Do what you know to be right; regardless of the consequence. Never let anyone stand in the way of following your heart and mind. I did. I let fear rule my emotions; I let intimidation rule my rationality. Hindsight is always 20/20 and in this case, even more so for me. I sit here with a burden on my shoulders, a burden I choose to carry. You may think it silly; you make think it mundane; you may even find it in the neighborhood of absurdity but as I have said with evil (no matter what the degree, it is still evil), the same holds true for good. I could should have done something. I had the opportunity; I had the power; I failed myself yesterday.

One must always do what is right; even if it requires suffering (in fact I have found oftentimes that doing the right thing brings the most amount of suffering; not because what is done isn't right, but because it is usually not in agreement with the status quo or the norm). I welcome the suffering of incarceration over the self-inflicted suffering of guilt. Because of that recognition, I will never, ever do what I did standing on that beach yesterday again: Nothing.