Thursday, October 22, 2009

This I'll remember

Laurie brought along a heel of bread to feed the gulls. (No cholesterol in this, Kirk!) He handed me the bag; "You do it better," he said. So instead of scattering it wholesale, I broke off small pieces and put them, one by one, on the railing of the pier.

Several gulls grabbed the bait from the air, and flew off, as they usually do. But two gulls came and stayed.

"Hello! Is that for me?"

Unflinching stare.

The owlish look.

Isn't he beautiful? He was a bit skittish; perched at arm's length, and dashed in to get his bite of bread only after I'd stepped back a bit. But he didn't mind the camera, as long as I moved slowly.

The next gull, a big brown-eyed youngster, was more confident:

Settling down gently.

He landed close to me, for a start, and then allowed me to approach to within a few inches without flinching. He stayed with me for maybe ten minutes.

There we were, we two, eye to eye, barely moving except when I slowly broke off another bite of bread to share. The camera clicked from time to time, but mostly we stood in companionable silence. It was all very meditative, very Zen. Humbling, too, that this wild thing, this squabbler and shrieker, consented to stand quietly with me, trusting me.

I took dozens of photos, until the bread was all gone. As I packed up the empty bag, Brown Eyes screamed once, and flew away.

Very dignified.

Looks like a tourist photo: "I was here!"

Speaking of tourists, a group walked past, stopped, and doubled back to watch me. More cameras came out. Now there are photos out there of people taking photos of me taking photos of the gull.

I've posted a few more photos of these gulls on Flickr.

Thanks, Brown Eyes! (And Yellow, too!) I'll never forget!

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