“SEAGULLS” are Sooooo Pretty! or “Ewwwww”!
GULL in Flight from U-Tube
I’d love to have a dollar for every time a person, visitor or local, has said this to me about gulls! I never agree BUT I always get to tell my story – the same story I’m about to tell you.
Did you watch the above U-Tube video? Did you notice how the gull is scanning, scanning? He is looking for his next target, you know! I say he generically – could be a “she” – I’m sure there is a way to tell, but I don’t know it!
OK I grew up in a tiny village on the coast of Maine (Spruce Head) where the predominant industry was lobstering or some other type of ocean fishing or boating, or a business to support those workers. (One summer I filled bait bags with a friend for her father, a lobsterman, with my bare hands and digging into the juicy barrel of “fragrant” rotting redfish for 2 cents a bag.) “ewwww!”. I don’t remember how much money I made that day but I distinctly remember that was the one and only time I did that job – and as a kid I was resourceful and entrepreneurial by nature. When I got older my mom tried to get me to work in a sardine factory – I always said “no” or “ewwww” to which she always replied “the money doesn’t stink”! I did anything and everything else (legal of course) to earn my own money but I never got that close to fishy smell again!
My sister and I were always told we would get ONE bicycle in our lives – when we were TEN, 10 years old. So, on my tenth birthday I got the most beautiful bike. It was a 28 inch – I was tall – Murray – maroon color with lots of silver chrome, and wide tires. By today’s standards it was a very heavy bike. It was a “regular” bike with brakes on the foot pedals and a longish silver colored “some kind of holder” that bounced back by a spring, on top of the rear fender – probably for books. I already knew how to ride a bike because I’d been riding the neighborhood kids’ bikes for years, when they let me. (“All the other kids” got bikes younger and yearly, it seemed to me, of course – and that was somewhat true).
This one particular day I was riding my brand new shiny bike up through the village toward home.I was on my way home from a piano lesson in another small town, biking there 4 miles each way every Saturday.
All at once “splat!” – this thick white “something” dropped onto my legs and bike. I was in shorts, of course “ewwww!” , soaked the top of my head and ran down my face. “Ewwwwww”, I just got shat upon by a seagull! ! ! I cannot say “ewwwwww!” often enough or long enough to convey all of my ten year old disgust at getting shat upon! And I hightailed it for home lickety split, ran into the house, collected shampoo and towels and washed my hair in the sink. I don’t remember how I cleaned the rest of my body or what clothes I chose to change into but I DO remember my mother was laughing! Laughing! And trying not to laugh! Do you know what it looks like when you mother looks at you with lips pursed and eyes dancing, trying to stay straight-faced?!
Well! I’ve never forgiven that “Seagull” and I’ve never trusted one since! My head always feels naked and vulnerable outside if gulls are flying overhead. Nowadays, due to an adult sun allergy I wear a safari hat out in the sun and that helps me feel a lot more secure. But should I forget that hat I am not at ease outdoors and am constantly craning my neck every which way and scanning the sky myself!
Even Jonathan Livingstone Seagull (1970) by Richard Bach did not bridge that gap, and I was thoroughly charmed by that book, and by Richard Bach’s storytelling, and went on to read more of his books. Do you know Jonathan Livingstone Seagull? If not, it is a book I highly recommend for his imaginative tale of seagull flight and whimsical life philosophy.
AND mostly, and especially, I recommend, if there are gulls in the sky, WEAR a HAT! ! ! I’ve been told there are only 2 birds that can “shat” while flying; the rest have to be lighted – lit? standing on something – but I don’t know if that is true or not so I don’t count on it. I’ve also been told there is no such thing as a “Seagull”, that is apparently an idiom or a slang term – don’t know – we all know what seagulls are! Watch the skies! And enjoy the summer in Maine! (and yes I know there are gulls everywhere!)