Continued from part 1
The next day….
Brilliant sunshine greeted the next day, so we went for a refreshing walk along the beach. Before heading back to our cabin, we spent some time enjoying the beauty of a now much calmer ocean from a bench with my favourite view.
And as we were admiring the incredible ocean view before us, the story of the little seagull who was growing up continued immediately behind us.
Mom was still persistently encouraging Junior to become independent, yet stayed close by. Wherever Mom went, Junior continued to follow, right and left, and right and left yet again. And while following, Junior consistently kept that neck pulled in, and was crying and crying and crying….
Back and forth…. and forth and back…
Mom kept ahead of Junior, sometimes picking up the pace a notch, and other times hesitating, and then dodging again. And the crying continued…. How long would this go on?
And then, without warning, Mom flew away.
Junior was alone, and a transformation began to take place. The crying ceased at once, and that pulled-in neck suddenly became extended to full length…. Except for the mottled colouring of the feathers, this was looking a grown-up bird.
It turned out that being independent was actually not so bad. Not only did the crying cease, but Junior began to take on an interest in life and began to check things out.
It would turn out to be a shortlived independence, however. Within less than an hour, Mom returned. Junior became aware of her presence, and the crying resumed once again.
Junior joined her immediately. Mom seemed to acknowledge Junior’s presence. And as for Junior, that neck was pulled right back in, and the crying resumed.
For a few moments, Mom appeared to indulge Junior’s proximity and the renewed crying.
the patience of a mother
And then Mom began walking with a renewed determination, while the skies above began to cloud over again.
Junior was barely able to keep up to Mom, and with a pulled-in neck continued to cry and cry…. the patience of the Mom was incredible to watch. Yet, as the mom’s patience continued, the persistent dependence of Junior appeared to be just as indominatable. How would this story end?
Suddenly Junior was alone again.
Where did Mom go?
Mom had flown onto one of the picnic tables once again, leaving Junior behind on the ground below. Had I known what was to happen next, I would have kept my eyes glued on Junior.
I flew up here all by myself
Suddenly, before I realized it, Junior had somehow managed to get onto the picnic table under Mom’s watchful eye from the table next door. I am so sorry I missed it. There was Junior, neck somewhat extended, checking things out to the right and to the left from a whole new vantage point, and surprisingly, there was no crying sound to be heard.
Life looks grand from up here!
I clicked a few times, and then continued to watch Junior. And then, once again before my camera was ready, Junior took the awkward plunge and jumped/dove/flew/stumbled off the table, landing in an undignified but otherwise completely intact heap on the ground below. Junior could fly!
And the forlorn-sounding, incessant crying had finally ceased. At that point, the Mom must have been satisfied that Junior was able to manage without her. Never saw the two of them together again. Junior was a big bird now!
A few days later, on another incredibly sunny day, we spent time on a beach a few miles south of our cabin. After yet another one of those refreshing walks, breathing in the salt air, and hearing the constant roar of the ocean, and watching the untiring surf pound on the beach again and again, we sat on some logs, admiring the oceanview while it was still before us. Soon our vacation would be over, and we would be heading back home to regular routines, far from the rugged beauty of the open ocean.
Suddenly I noticed a neighbour beside me. A juvenile seagull who was able to fly quite well had elected to perch on my log, and sat but two feet away from me, with legs tucked underneath, looking completely relaxed in the afternoon sunshine, not unlike a cat appears when all four paws are comfortably folded away beneath its body.
There we sat in close proximity for a few minutes. Not wanting to spoil the moment, I did not reach for my camera. All that could be heard was the roar of the ocean surf. The young gull looked out at the ocean, and we did not move a muscle as we watched it.
But when, after some time, it hopped to the log in front of me, neck pulled in a bit, I captured this image. And still it stood there for a few more of one of those timeless moments that the ocean affords so generously.
Was it the same seagull who had been growing up just outside our cabin door a few miles further north? I really don’t know, because this little one never answered that question. But it is nice to think that perhaps it was.
◆ originally posted February 2, 2008 ◆