A Gladness of Gulls

This morning the air was filed with wings. The gulls that roost on the roof of the covered slips at the marina were circling in a silent, compact flock. A moment later an eagle passed overhead, intent upon some errand that had nothing to do with gulls.

Most of the gulls returned to their corrugated roost but a few dozen took stand on the gangway between the wharf and the Verlaine, the barge that serves as the ferry dock for Kingston’s mosquito fleet. The gangway is favored by gulls later in the day but typically not in the mornings. They seem to have a sense of propriety about such things.

After the ferry was secured alongside the Verlaine, a crew member crossed the gangway to greet arriving passengers. Gulls rose into the air like newspapers surrendered to the wind. He must have noted their unusual numbers. He might have briefly wondered why. He would not have known the cause. He hadn’t seen the eagle pass, entraining gulls in its wake.

Much of our lives are like that. We seem like characters in T.S. Eliot’s poem, wandering between rooms, entangled in conversations begun before we arrived and leaving before they are ended.

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

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