My love for gulls is no secret. Yesterday evening we went down to the beach and found the gulls pleasantly eager to pose for my camera. Incredibly, I came home with 79 pictures of these common and seemingly unremarkable shorebirds.
It was a very windy day as you can tell by the ruffled feathers in some of these shots.
It’s a good thing I took so many pictures of the other kinds of gulls last summer because we aren’t seeing many of them here this year. (But we did have oystercatchers this year, much to my surprise and delight!) These ”regular” ring-billed gulls seemed very happy to have their beach back to themselves… I envy them at times…
Some bodyminds have more stormy weather systems than other bodyminds, just as some geographical locations have more stormy weather than others, and it is neither helpful nor relevant to compare ourselves to others. It is also very liberating to realize that change always happens on its own timetable, not on the the timetable the thinking mind conjures up. Especially in our speeded-up, fast-food, modern culture, we tend to want instant results, and life just doesn’t work that way. Most changes in nature happen slowly.
~ Joan Tollifson
(Nothing to Grasp)
As I sit here wishing for another bout of figurative “stormy weather system” to pass me by, communing with the gulls reminds me that change always happens on its own timetable…
This week I have not read any book, nor once walked in the woods and field. I meant to give its days to setting outward things in order, and its evenings to writing. But, I know not how it is, I can never simplify my life; always so many ties, so many claims! However, soon the winter winds will chant matins and vespers, which may make my house a cell, and in a snowy veil enfold me for my prayer.
~ Margaret Fuller
(Letter to William H. Channing, October 25, 1840)
In all the excitement yesterday I forgot I had a prescription to pick up at the drug store. So… we decided to go get it this morning, even though it was already raining, but with no wind to speak of. Workers were boarding up the large expanse of windows at CVS. I wonder if they will stay open for 24 hours through the storm.
Since we were already out and about we decided to have second breakfast (as Hobbits refer to it) at our favorite restaurant. And then we decided to go to the food co-op for Tim’s sliced almonds. And then we decided we may as well check out the beach before returning home.
On the way we spotted some die-hard golfers, out for one last round! That’s the Thames River behind them, shrouded in mist.
I’m guessing these cormorants were getting a feel for the wind direction. They didn’t fly, they were just standing there with their wings open…
This little house is on a rock island in the Thames River and is the object of much curiosity and speculation. We have never seen people there before, but today these two kayaked out there! When I got home and uploaded my pictures to my laptop, I noticed that there seems to be a wind turbine just behind the bushes! I called Tim over and he had never noticed one there before either. It’s strange that I didn’t even see it while taking the picture.
We drove right up to this seagull. He was unimpressed with us and wasn’t about to leave his post.
This gull had a long and mournful cry…
As I moved closer to him I could see something wrong with his foot, perhaps it was injured and healed in an awkward position. He seemed to know I meant him no harm and allowed me to come very close to him and talk to him.
Later he was waiting patiently, hoping to get a crumb from a woman enjoying one last hot dog before the storm arrives.
On the way home we stopped at Baker Cove and found this tranquil scene…
There have been a few evacuations near us, but so far we’re good to stay. The storm track is a little more to the west, so we’re out of the “red” zone. Now we’re more concerned about Larisa in New York than about us here. There is a high new moon tide coming along with a 6′ storm surge. (We’re 20′ high. If I see water, though, I’m out of here!) Tim has his webcam aimed out the window – wonder what we’ll see?
Earlier this year I read an utterly fascinating book, A Time for Everything, a historical fiction by multiple award-winning Norwegian author Karl O. Knausgård, a story unlike any I’ve ever read before. This is how the publisher describes his most unusual story:
Antinous Bellori, a boy of eleven, loses his way in the woods in the mountains behind his home. Unseen, he stumbles upon two glowing beings, an event that leads him to devote the rest of his life to the study of angels. Bellori reinterprets moments throughout the Bible where men confront angels: the expulsion from the garden, Cain and Abel, Lot in Sodom, Noah’s isolation before the flood, Ezekiel’s visions. . . . Through his profound glimpses, Karl Knausgaard—an extraordinary storyteller and thinker—explores with spellbinding insight how the nature and roles of these intermediaries between man and the divine have shifted throughout history.
If I had to sum it up in a sentence I would say it is about the nature and evolution of angels and what day-to-day life might have been like for the various Bible characters mentioned above. And without spoiling the story, if you want to read it, I will just say that after reading it I will never look at seagulls quite the same way again.
Saturday evening we went down to the beach for a hot dog and a sunset. As the various seagulls came by to see if we were offering to share any of our food — we weren’t, it’s not good for them, or us, for that matter — I studied them closely and kept asking them if it was true, what Knausgård says of them. Tim kept reminding me it was fiction. He doesn’t yet appreciate the power of this amazing storyteller, nor will he unless he reads it for himself. But he probably won’t because I’ve chewed his ear off about it for a couple of months now! The seagulls only looked at me as if the question I was asking them was far too personal and none of my business.
While I was busy photographing the uncooperative beings an alluring schooner appeared on the horizon. I’m pretty sure it was the Mystic Whaler. We watched her approach to the Thames River, spellbound. Many years ago my aunt and I sailed on her for a two-night cruise to Block Island…
There were other boats around, too. The Hel-Cat II, with the dubious distinction of being New England’s largest party fishing boat. Sport fishing, that is. And on board there was a party well under way, even before she reached Long Island Sound, music and revelry blaring across the water…
Then there was the ferry, coming in from Long Island…
And then a smaller sailboat appeared, hugging the shore, stirring up memories for Tim of sailing with his brother in Provincetown Harbor and Chesapeake Bay.
As the sailboat approached New London Harbor Lighthouse, across the Thames River, the light came on for the evening, “three seconds white alternating with three seconds darkness, with red sector.”
And then the little sailboat passed by the setting sun. Sweet dreams, dear sailors!
After sunset, on the way home, we saw an amazing sight, a flock of about two dozen egrets (white herons?) resting in the trees in the middle of the salt marsh, seemingly all spread out to be equidistant from each other, so far apart they wouldn’t all fit in one picture… At first glance we thought someone had draped white cloths on the trees. The pictures are disappointing…
But it was a sight to behold and a surprise ending to a lovely evening!
Some believe seagulls embody the souls of sailors lost at sea. Karl Ove Knausgård has some other ideas…