Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fleeing the Flock

He seemed young, eager, curious—and quite alone. His brethren covered the sands of the beach in front of him while all around him were picnickers, joggers, dog-walkers, cyclists, children, seniors. Yet no one noticed the lone gull walking through the grass of the park.

Gulls are common in my neighborhood and we have at least three different varieties. They fly to park benches where immigrants feed them, they stand guard atop light poles at busy intersections, they soar above treetops and dive deep into the lake. But they never—I mean NEVER—light upon the grassy spread used by sunbathers and ballplayers.

Now here was an explorer. He watched people as he walked. Sometimes he'd come in contact with something on the ground that would unsettle him and he'd stretch his wings out, fluttering them a bit to regain his balance. He made me smile.

I watched him for a while. Had I encouraged him, I think he might have come close to me. But that would be a bad dynamic for his future. He couldn't depend on people for his survival.

I admired his spunk—his boldness in going where no gull had gone before. How can people not notice such a brazen act of nonconformity? How can people go to a park shared by dozens of species of birds and plants but focus only on their tan lines or cellphone conversation or workout time?

I'm grateful to have seen the gull. I'm concerned about how much I don't notice in the world. I want to absorb it all. 

Are you seeing everything around you? 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Lill,

I'm a good friend of your sister Nancy. She sent me the link to your blog today. I love it; your writing is beautiful. Thank you for using your experience to create this site. It feels like a collection of mini essays that should be a book. My partner and I are going through a very similar situation to you. The only difference is we don't have to move. Yet. We're not alone in that, and while I am newly able to appreciate the small pleasures and everyday miracles in life because of the lull, it's easy to forget. Your wonderful blog is a deeply gentle reminder; profound and moving. I'm passing it on.

With love,

Alexandra Austin

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