Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Seagulls and the Staten Island Ferry
Standing on the back of the Staten Island Ferry last night as it plowed toward Manhattan, with the orange light from the setting sun brilliantly lighting up the western horizon, and the dots of light from the Statue of Liberty's torch and crown coming spectacularly into view, I enjoyed this marvelous moment of profound well being. This feeling continued as I watched the seagulls, dipping and veering over our wake. They seemed to relish their job of escorting the boat all the way into shore. As I watched them, no one could convince me that they weren't having an absolutely terrific time gliding and darting, flapping and careening, floating and banking in the wind. Making the most of who they are and what they can do, their slicing and swooping seemed to be their way of saying we are here on this earth to play our precious, irreplaceable part in the ecology of the sea. Of course, that part is mainly to reproduce, to fish, and to provide sustenance for others, but what if part of that role is to show us to how to play as well, with all the abandon and joy of beings who make beautiful use of whatever the elements have to offer and do so with no other object other than to paint the sky with their vivid and colorful movements.