I was thinking about what Alan Lightman had said about the Osprey flying over his head as he watched from the deck of his house as I went for a run past portions of False Creek. It occurred to me that I too had had an unusual, hard-to-explain encounter with animals a while ago. The full blog can be read here but here is an excerpt from it.
As I walked along the seawall of False Creek a seal popped its head out of the
water and began swimming at the pace of my walk. A second seal raised its head
and swam beside it. The two swam along beside me for a while before diving below
the surface and disappearing. I commented to God that it seemed like He had
given me a sign to reassure me but that it was so brief that it would be hard to
know. As I continued to walk, the two seals appeared and kept pace with me again
before diving and disappearing below the surface. I said to God, “If I were a
man like Gideon
I might ask for a third time.” As if on cue, the two seals appeared beside me a
third time, swam beside me for a few more meters, swam out into the middle of
the bay, disappeared below the waves, and did not return.
Of course there are several scientific explanations for an experience like this but it is not easy to explain the feelings that both Alan Lightman and I experienced in these situations. If we are simply products of chance and proximity to a star, why do we feel such a sense of holy awe and mystery with incidents like these?