I was walking along the beach when I noticed a gull pecking at what I took for one of the numerous piles of kelp that the tide was washing in. Actually, it was a dead seal -- dramatically dead! Its head was reduced nearly to a skull. In ancient or medieval times, I've learned, this would seem to be an omen or a reminder of mortality, but in fact, the day was beautiful and the sun was bright (after a misty morning). Children and families were everywhere, enjoying the day. I just don't have that medieval mindset. It's not a reminder of anything, just part of the interesting California beach scenery.