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Sea lions

“Why would the adept so value Tao?
  Is it not said that one who seeks shall find
  And one who sins is forgiven?”
    ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 62

See them piled
Commanding weathered planks lashed to the pier
Playing together
Fighting together
Making pillows of each other as they sleep
Sleek little cubs to splendid swaggering bulls
Social animals
Not so different from us
I suppose
No bull has reached middle age to realize
That some of the more striking lionesses might’ve found him attractive too
That a few of them
Abandoned by him years before
Weren’t just fooling with his mind
Might even still be romantically bound to him
And that she
With whom he’s built a life
Struggled for health
Searched out and fought for a home
Could be sexy
At least to some of the others

The three of them touching affectionately
When asked about their lives
Speak of the other adults they live with
Then ask about me
I’ve been in a monogamous relationship for years
Having fought much of that time for a home
Brought me home for the first time
Having found myself home
Brought me into romantic love for the first time
Though sadly
With a person with whom I haven’t spoken for half a lifetime

“So you and your wife fought each other over property?”

“No, we’re friends
  Who fought as a team against others
  Who’d gotten a handle on our home through crazy lot line problems”

“Where’s this?”

“We live remotely
  In a place we renovated
  On five acres way up the hill
  Where we’d rather be in the company of supportive people
  Than those who engage us in property battles”

“You need support”

“She’s lived with my life story
  And fallen for someone from her past
  Much as I have
  You never know what’ll happen
  She knows she needs more support
  Coming from the right person
  What’s your secret for supporting each other?”

“The two of us have been married over thirty years
  Living with supportive partners for most of them
  And I’m still learning how to do it”

“What’s the most important thing you’ve learned so far?”

“It’s all about relationship”

Not far from that meeting place
I walk a cliff above the beach
Until my attention’s captured by the bark of sea lions
From the direction of the pier
I listen to their voices crossing the waves
Suggesting I head back toward the main drag
Toward more of my own kind
Realize the name of the street I’m walking
Is a reminder of verses
Written about the elegiacal person I’d mentioned
The first address past the corner’s an odd number
Her birthday
Or at least one she’s assumed
Thinking, I turn in
They serve cold drinks here
With odd names
Looking down lists of ingredients for something I’d like
I select one
Name it to the proprietor
The words I intone sounding to me
As though they’d been meant to describe
A short story of her love life
Or rather lack thereof
Their meaning
Not perfectly clear
Though I’ll soon look them up on the web
To find they’re the title of a pop culture artifact
Created by someone whose first name
Is that of her one former lover
Before I wasn’t one
Their meaning
Maybe not as specific as first seems
Shall I remain here alone today too
Or realize intimacy
The sea lions have led me to the universal truth
That the entirety of life’s about relationship

Thanks always returns

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