|Dad's Grave, Boothbay, ME|
Strange thing, today. The girls and I took my mother by, to the field. It brings comfort to her: to stand there, to hear the crickets and birds, to watch the butterflies. It's a lovely place, and peaceful. After taking a couple pictures, we turned for the car, only to find that we were pursued by a very vocal and persistent gull.
She squawked and squealed at my mother, then at my daughter. When the fun seemed to have run its course, I barked at her a bit, knowing it would spook her into flight.
But it did nothing of the sort. Our gull seemed emboldened and hopped another couple of steps toward us, squawking and squealing. My dear mother, laughing nervously, found the passenger side door and quickly secured her place in the car. Daughter Fiona took a couple of pictures! Still, our gull squawked. A rather Hitchcockian moment on the coast of Maine! And just twenty yards from Dad's grave.
Finally on our way, we looked back at the gull, who remained in the field. She was poking into the grass now, collecting a twig here, a long piece of grass there. And it struck me: she was building a nest! She was building a nest for a little one on the way! Her aggressive behavior was protective, in the way that gulls have to be when they're building nests, caring for the young, bringing new life into the world!
|Face to Face: Our Gull|
I have still more mourning ahead of me. That much is clear. But this strangely aggressive gull--so familiar and so surprising--heralds something up ahead. Something about life. Something about hope. Something about a bird doing what birds do: preparing to lay her little chick in a nest not far from the stone Dad chose as his grave. She wanted us to know. She looked us in the eye. Something about life.
Thanks for the field, Dad.