This is the first set of my Sleeping California Sea Lions project. The slideshow may take a few moments to load. Please be patient. If you prefer to view these without a Flash viewer, please go here.
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What the Sleeping Sea Lions project is about:
Sea lions, when awake, can often seem like extraordinarily temperamental and unwarrantedly vicious animals toward their peers. They often attack each other for seemingly the slightest infractions; for example, I often see them chomp into each others’ sides, leaving bloody wounds and permanent scars, apparently just to get one to scoot aside so that the other may more easily move past. Seemingly, almost every encounter leads to a baring of fangs, barking and growling, snapping and striking; and they’re covered with scars and open wounds, mostly caused by each other. Their bellicosity seems endless.
Except when they sleep. They all sleep together, and it’s a magical phenomenon to behold. They sleep with anybody and everybody. They press into each other and make a solid carpet, so tight that no ground is visible between them. They pile on top of each other, sometimes 3 or 4 deep. They press their bodies together in the most intimate ways, face to face, or face pressed to anything and everything. They let their bodies be the beds and pillows for each other. They do this regardless of age or sex or relation, including with strangers, and including with those whom they heatedly fought moments ago. They hold each other tenderly, caress each other, cuddle and snuggle and nuzzle each other as close as they can, seemingly relishing close contact without boundaries. They let go of their hostility, let go their grievances, and find peace and comfort, if just for a little while.
In this, I saw a lesson of peace, and drew hope and inspiration that kindness and tenderness toward each other always remains possible, that reconciliation can be achieved under even the most extreme circumstances, that the good still can always out.
I hope you enjoy them. Thank you for looking.
Sleeping California Sea Lions (Zalophus Californianus)
All pictures and text are © Mike Spinak, unless otherwise noted. All pictures shown are available for purchase as fine art prints, and are available for licensed stock use. Telephone: (831) 325-6917.