My memory is a little hazy these days ... It's in a bit of a gray area, if you will. I sometimes pretend to blend with the humans by drinking that foul-tasting thing they call beer and reading in the local pubs around the Greater Seattle area. One day, I spotted an empty table with a particular publication sitting abandoned and decided to browse through it. There were several articles of interest inside. Listings for local events, concerts, art shows, and movies; an advice column that I found particularly amusing; comic strips that weren't funny and some humorous twists on human astrological horoscopes. The smallest thing in the personal ads at the back of the paper, however, was what really caught my attention. At the very top of this particularly sad section of the paper was a lyric about hoping to find someone in a certain location and they never showed. Which, if my heart had still been beating, it would have stopped in that instant. Something about the ad pulled at my center of gravity and drew me to Anacortes.
I had to go there! I decided it would be best to drive my humble, unassuming "grocery-getter" -- as I had heard some humans refer to their vehicles -- to my destination. I immediately decided to leave without ordering or reading any further and drove away in my car. It was nearly closing time at that particular bar, anyhow. I didn't consciously know the way to this place, but I continued to drive without stopping to look at a map. I was confident that I would find it without having to ask, either.
It was nearly dawn by the time I reached Anacortes and I could tell that it was going to be sunny. Just my luck. I hoped out loud to myself that there would be no one else at the place where I planned to go. I slowly ambled through the streets of the sleeping town until I found the road that I wanted to turn onto. It didn't take long for me to find what I'd been looking for. I parked my car along the side of the road and started on my journey into the woods. I came across a meadow and instantly knew where I was. I was the only person there, of course. The woods were silent as I walked and the sun was just starting to peak out above the trees.
I followed a path that seemed to naturally appear to guide me to my destination. As I walked, I felt a little uneasy, not knowing what to expect. The deeper I went into the woods, the more I began to feel the familiarity of the place. When I first pulled into the spot where I'd parked, I could just barely recall being there before. I walked slowly and cautiously, in case I came across any adventurous humans who were out for a night hike. It's a rare occasion to stumble upon them this early in the morning, but the citizens of these small towns -- teenagers and younger adults, especially -- were sometimes accustomed to taking their parties into the woods when the parks were closed. One can never be too careful when sunlight is involved.
Anyhow, I came near the end of the path, which was clearly supposed to lead me onto a gigantic bouldering cliff. I climbed up the side of the very large rock and witnessed a spectacular view from the top. I was surrounded by ocean in front and more mountain behind, but this was the end of the trail. I looked around and gathered my thoughts. I had witnessed this scene before in a very different way. I didn't remember exactly all of the details of what transpired here, but I knew that what I had witnessed was during my human life and very traumatic to me then. I also remembered that I'd been hiding. How the creatures that I'd been spying on didn't catch my scent, I will not know. To my knowledge, they never knew that I was there and if they did, they didn't acknowledge my presence.
Now this place was in deep contrast to that time. It was peaceful...even beautiful. I sat for quite some time, staring out at the vast waters, searching the waves on the surface and watching the ships slowly pass, when something in the water caught my eye. A seal? Yes, I thought so. Several of them. Then out of nowhere a splashing sound, although I couldn't see where it was coming from. I heard it a few more times and then I saw a white belly roll beneath the surface and a fin pop out of nowhere. Before long there were several of them.
The Orcas! I have seen them in the wild before but they never fail to astound me. Before spotting them, I'd been sitting on top of that mountain cliff feeling a morose stain moving into my mind. Yet, there was also a sense of victory that I'd remembered something of my human life, however incomplete. That feeling almost melted away then and I felt happy for the first time in my lonely existence since the change. Some part of my brain had a fleeting thought of trying to hunt them, but I immediately pushed that thought out of my mind by reminding myself of their graceful magnificence. These animals were to remain untouched.
I sat and watched the whales play among the waves and thought about the reason that I was there. As the hour wiled away, I forced myself to try to remember nearly every detail of my time in this spot. I was wishing I'd had a pen and paper to write with when I heard voices at the bottom of the trail and the wind carried the scent of a human family approaching. It was time to make my exit and I took a shortcut through the woods, pausing at the meadow one last time before getting back into my car. I smiled over the morning I'd had as I started the car and drove away. I knew I would be back.