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Enriched by Animals

seal lions in australia

Goin’ Off Safaris in Eyre Peninsula, South Australia/Courtesy Goin’ Off Safaris

A couple of years ago, lonely and lost, I took a walk on a secluded beach in Nantucket, before the throngs arrived for the season. It was rainy and gray, a miasma of weather that paralleled my mood. I had the sliver moon of sand to myself; there was nobody else about as far as my eyes could see. Solitary, small, miserable, I felt like the last person on earth, my streaming tears consumed by the rain. Hopeless, I concentrated only on moving forward.It wasn’t long before I realized that I wasn’t alone. As I walked, something walked with me. Not in the sand—but to my right, in the water, just beyond the breaking of the waves. It was a sea lion. She’d popped from the water, turned her head, and caught my gaze, compelling me to stop walking and stare back. Her animated eyes bored into me, filling my soul with a rush of golden warmth. Then, she’d submerge and meet up with me again a few steps later. Soon, she brought along some babies, and they, too, accompanied my trudge. This went on for nearly two hours. I can’t explain what happened next, but I realized I was smiling, my heart opened—a zest for living flo …

Becca Hensley is a spiritual adventurer and a widely published poet and writer, specializing in travel and spas. Her work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Toronto Star, and Austin Monthly.

About the Author

Becca Hensley is a spiritual adventurer and a widely published travel writer. Based in Austin, Texas, she is a contributing editor at 

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