I’m sitting at the beach right now on my little fold-out nylon-strapped chair, writing on my brand new used laptop. I am, naturally enough, feeling very Gilligan Goes Thoughtful. Very Californiay — which is good for me, since I’ve lived in CA all my life.
So just now this seagull alighted near me, the way seagulls do when they’re pretty sure you must have something on or near you to eat. I don’t have anyhing on or near me to eat — but figured that instead of shooing it away I’d spend a few minutes staring at the bird, since I happen to know that getting stared at drives seagulls crazy.
Now definitely In the Spotlight, the bird has quickly affected Seagull Disdain, and begun to poke about nonchalantly in the sand, as if I weren’t here at all.
It’s a beautiful specimen, sporting that white chest seagulls have that can practically blind you if the sun’s just right.
So this bird was looking reasonably regal — right up until the moment it picked up this huge rock. And I’m not talking about some little pebble this bird might have reasonably mistaken for a McNugget, either. This feathered fiend picked up a rock the size of a coffee mug. And it didn’t just poke at the rock, either. I think the pressure of my looking at him somehow compelled the gull to open his beak wider than I knew they could open them up, and wrap it around the rock, and, for it all had in him, hoist that bad boy right up. And when the gull did so, you could just see that the weight of the rock was practically breaking the poor thing’s neck.
But seagulls, of course, must always remain cool. So, still clamping the rock, Jonathon Livingston Flintstone managed to turn his head a bit to fix me with his gaze.
“What are you looking at?” he then seemed to say. “What — you don’t think I thought this was an abandoned bread roll, do you? Do I look stupid? I knew this was a rock. It just so happens that I enjoy holding rocks in my beak, okay? It’s good for the neck muscles. Besides, I could eat this rock if I wanted to. That’s right, numb-nuts; I could. Believe me, I’ve eaten worse. Besides, it’s not like you’re bustin’ out the Cheetos, is it, Lumpy?”
This Gull Moment reminds me of a time when I was strolling through a redwood forest in northern California, and saw a squirrel fall out of a tree. I had stopped to watch this adorable little fellow, way up in a majestic tree, gracefully leaping from one branch to the next — when suddenly he was doing something altogether different, which was crashing down through half a tree’s worth of branches, before finally coming to a singularly ignoble “plunk!” on the soft needle bed below.
I stood staring, shocked. Never in a million years would I have guessed that squirrels ever just fell out of trees.
Seemed to be a pretty major news flash to the squirrel, too. But he rebounded. Immediately upon landing, Rocky the Non-Flying Squirrel flipped over onto his feet, and, Natural Museum-style, just sort of froze there, as if pausing to take a moment to fully compute what had just happened to him. That done, he came to, and, just like he was having nothing more than a typical day dropping out of trees, leapt back onto the tree’s trunk, and scittered his way back up, up and away.
And that is when I first learned the valuable Life Lesson that Stony the Seagull has just (thank God) eminded me of again: You can’t trust Mother Nature any further than you can throw her.
Wait — that’s not a good lesson to learn.
The lesson I meant to learn is that … nature is God’s way of showing us that, at its core, life is absolutely bonkers.
No, no! That’s not it, either. Stupid of me. Sorry.
What is the lesson I’m supposed to learn from boulder-hoisting seagulls, and squirrels dropping out of trees?