Recently while walking on the beach, I closely observed some seagulls with the intention of taking a photograph of one.
One seagull in particular caught my attention as it walked along the water's edge. I had my camera lens on zoom and was concentrating on the gull in order to capture its portrait.
Often when I am on a picture taking expedition, I transition into a hyper-aware and concentrated perpective. The everyday mood of the world dissolves and a kind of sixth sense springs to the surface.
I'm not even certain what precipitates the shift but it is completely tangible and suddenly like a Star Trek moment I'm transported to some other mode. As I observed the seagull, that shift unfolded inside me and I found myself tuned into a seagull who was emanating a completely playful vibration amidst the waves.
The reason I choose the word playful to describe the seagull is because after about the third time in a row of repeating the pattern of walking towards the water as a wave receded only to position itself for a dash of spray as the waves came back to the shore I suddenly realized it was playing race the waves.
As a child growing up in the Midwest of America, I rarely travelled to the ocean but trips to the Great Lakes were commonplace. The Great Lakes are tremendous bodies of fresh water complete with sand dunes on the shore and waters powerful enough to sink large ships. Along the shores of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron is where I played race the waves - a frolic along the water's edge guaranteed to evoke squeals of delight from young and old alike.
On this walk along the ocean's edge near my current coastal habitat, I learned something new about marine ecology and avian behavior. Gulls like to play in the water and offered me an instant mood-booster with the element of surprise in this discovery.
So the next time that someone characterizes seagulls as one of the duller species to observe just tell them that seagulls are anything but dull. Who knows? Maybe if you invite them they'll even play hide and seek.