June 2014 The Seagull By Linda Pashley Murray I flew over the soft breaking waves that morning. There were a flock of us. Below we could see a few netter’s readying their boats , pushing them off the backs of pickups. They were always a promising sign. We dipped and screamed and tried to find breakfast like we had a thousand mornings before. We watched from our vantage point up high, then dipping and gliding across the waves so close we could feel the cool salty spray. No luck. Then up again until finally one of us saw it. IT was a break in the water. An unnatural disturbance created out of sheer panic. It was the killies and bait fish being driven up and out of the water by the monster bluefish that came surging and slashing at them with their razor sharp teeth like a pack of wolves. Oh, this was exciting! Eeeee! Eeeee! We called to each other as we saw the glorious commotion and pandemonium that meant breakfast was served. I had my eyes on the fat bellied little morsels and hovered in place over my target. I got ready. Then,committed my dive right down into the middle of them, scooping up a delicious mouthful of the flippery little beggars,and soared away, swallowing all the time. I swung back around, found the splashes and commotion in that patch of water and watched my rivals dive and come up with mouthfuls. I hovered, dove……… WHAT IS THAT?? My leg, my leg. Something’s got my leg. It is pulling me down. I flapped my strong wings furiously and tried to pull away. Again and again. Finally,the bluefish chopped a little harder and I was free and flew up as fast as I could to a dizzying height. Or was it the same height-but I was dizzy? I flew to the beach and tried to land, but fell over. I tried again. I fell over. OK- so I cannot walk the way I used to , and my landings would never be as smooth, but I was alive, and I could still fly, and catch fish and hang out with the flock. “Grandma –that one legged seagull is back!!” the young girl called. “Do we have any leftovers to feed it?” “Sure we do” Grandma Iris called back. “Come on in the kitchen and get a pie tin so it will not mess up the deck”. We had been getting up and having breakfast and watching for the one-legged seagull for almost two summers now. He did not always show up but every couple of days he would. He would fly in and land on his one leg. We did not know how he balanced but he did. Actually we did not even know if it was a he or a she but we called it him or he- The One Legged Seagull. He would just wait patiently until he saw the pie tin of leftovers, then fly down, hop over and tip his head back, swallowing hunks of ham and eggs and toast. And then fly off. It was purely a food thing we thought, because he never really hung around unless he thought he might get something tasty. Sometimes if fishing was good, he would get some leftover striper of bluefish. He really liked that (But of course that was not everyday-fishing is never that good!) This third summer he did not come. kept a look out each day. But he never came back. He was gone. He was on his own. He did not need us anymore.