Seagulls are interesting creatures. I often believe they are merely the squirrels of the beach, yet they are lacking the adorable bushy tales that would endear one to love and feed them.
In all honesty the sound of a seagull is not relaxing or Zen. Unlike the chirping of a robin emitting an almost hypnotic morning song, seagulls loud cawing squawk is dare I say annoying at best. Their cries don’t exactly lull one to sleep on a sandy, sun-filled beach but announce their presence in a hawkish fashion.
So I must ask why my penchant for constantly feeding and nurturing such a discordant bird? Is it merely the fact they own the skies at the beach and their existence is some sort of proof we are at a place of calm and solitude?
Are they the landlords of the water’s edge and thus entitled to be cared for by us, mere interlopers on their terrain and is this some sort of pay off for allowing us to curl up on the sand and luxuriate in the sun’s healing rays?
Try as I might to understand my need to nurture them I remain simply stumped. My insane desire to feed squirrels is at least understandable by virtue of their adorable faces and precious puffy tales, but seagulls? I can’t even claim they are beautiful birds but a drab gray color that does nothing to inspire the senses as say the brilliant red of a cardinal or winged gymnastics of a hummingbird.
Yet there I am tearing off parts of a sandwich to feed them as they walk closer to me to ensure their place in the cafeteria line and chase off their brethren.
I can’t seem to help myself. Up close when they shoot me a cock of the head or an eyeball in my direction I find myself wishing I’d brought more food and wondering where to secure extra. I balk at the fact I’ll run out and suffer their scorn when I no longer possess any crusts of bread.
What is my problem? I’m certain I’m not the only one that falls under their spell when beachcombing. They seem to have a sense of those who will instantly succumb to their charms and begin throwing edibles. Is it written on my face…come here for food?
Of course they are cute in their way, but pandas they are not, yet I can’t seem to deny them.
After much self-reflection, I’ve come to believe it’s the sound of seagulls that endears them to me. If my eyes are closed and I feel a warm glow over my entire body and hear the sound of seagulls circling overhead, it is a certainty I am at the beach.
A place filled with happy childhood memories of floating in the Atlantic in an inner tube with a seat created by my grandfather. The times spent on the beach with him can never be erased although when I’m busy living life it leaves little time for those coveted childhood moments.
Thus my love for seagulls for they instantly return me to that time and place where I shared happy days by the ocean with my beloved grandfather. Despite a bite by a Man o’ War, a near drowning or any mishap the times at the beach were magical. Now as I reflect back on my life I see my grandfather’s face, feel the sand in my toes and hear the cawing of the seagulls above. It’s no wonder I seek them out and wish to have them near.
Too many scenes of our childhoods seem to get caught between the crevices of our minds and lost with time. A sound, taste or smell can suddenly reawaken those hidden moments and allow us to relive them instantly.
As I’ve entered a new phase of my life I seem to find a great deal of solace in those forgotten memories and fight to revive them as much as possible.
Times and experiences of childhood are now long gone and cannot be recaptured, so it’s more important then ever to retain their happiness and refuse to let them fade.
The sound of a seagull at the beach, the smell of burning leaves in autumn, the taste of your mother’s delicious soup you’ve tried in vain to recreate or the hot chocolate that warmed you through when ice skating with your father on a wintery Sunday afternoon.
One can never quite predict when a memory will resurface or what can spark its return. Whenever one does I force myself to hold onto to it as long as possible before allowing it to retreat back into an obscure corner of my mind.
Perhaps we underestimate the beauty of a memory because we have so many, and the number grows larger as we age.
I’ve decided to embrace every moment that adds happiness to my life; whether it be now or in the past it must be counted.
A new year will bring new memories, but I shall always be happy sitting on the beach, curling my toes in the sand, hearing the waves trickle onto the shore and feeding the seagulls. So they aren’t the most beautiful bird, but the recollections they conjure up are for me some of the best of my life.
Memories die with us and we will live on in those whose lives we’ve touched. They will also live on in those with whom we’ve shared them.
If you see me sitting on the beach surrounded by seagulls don’t think me eccentric, join me and we can relive some wonderful recollections together. I’ll even bring extra bread for you.