Now that I am retired, I have time to slow down and notice the world around me. I walk slowly down the beaches, observing birds, stones, and seaweed brought up by the tides. One day I watched the sea lion (pictured here) basking in the sun on a rock, and then realized he was holding up the sky!
It turns out I've been reading a book by the British evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins, called The Magic of Reality, in which he scientifically explains natural phenomena like rainbows and the sun, after first sharing myths from different cultures that attempted to explain them. Dawkins tells the Chinese origin myth of Pan Gu, who pushed the earth and the sky apart, and the Greek myth of Atlas, who held up the sky on his shoulders.
My sea lion seemed to balance the entire sky on his nose, and then held the pose for a long time. From a distance, he appeared to be quite proud of his labor. He was the only sea lion I've seen in the five months we've lived here, though I've come upon many harbor seals and porpoises. Even though it's taken me until now, thanks to Richard Dawkins, to understand the science behind rainbows, I still consider them magical. And this sea lion is definitely magical, too, for his feat of balancing the entire sky on one pointed little snout.