Just when the fog lifts, the storm begins…

There’s a steady, drumming rain as I write this post. From where I sit, I can watch three seagulls who’ve staked out the parking lot of this office complex today. The showers don’t seem to bother them.

Every few minutes they swoop down, stupidly hoping a crust of bread that they missed last time will appear on this dive. There are three lampposts, one for each bird, yet a gull often returns to an already-occupied post. A loud argument ensues: if you’ve seen the wonderful kids’ film Finding Nemo, you may know how it goes—

“Mine.”

“Mine, mine.”

That’s all the birds have to say (ours yell with a Philly accent, I’m sure), but apparently some are more persuasive in their monosyllabic discussion than others, because in seconds one or the other will shove off.

Then balance returns to my view, and the three posts are each topped with a stupid scavenger for a moment longer.

They call to each other intermittently, and one sets off for another twenty-second scope of the completely unchanged landscape.

Why?

They’re here, so it must work; both in an evolutionary sense—I’ve often wondered why such a stupid bird hasn’t died out (and why the noble dodo, rest in peace, got the name that seagulls surely deserved)—and in a microgeographic sense—they wouldn’t hang out here if an office park’s parking lot was a ticket to starvation. Maybe they’re not so stupid after all.

Are they working together, or competing? You never can tell with these birds. We have many gull-stories to tell here on the Atlantic coast, and one I see repeated often is the merchant with only a few birds that everyone thinks are (almost) cute, until some small child drops his lunch one day when coming to shop with Mama. By the next day the infestation is so bad it’s hard for customers to get out of their cars at all without feeling like Tippi Hedren in The Birds. (Whether that’s intentional collaboration or not I can’t say.) Then there’s no choice for the business’ owner but to call in a pest control company.

May that never happen here.

I do love the rain. It makes stories like this possible, in a way. Clears the brain, makes fresh connections appear, and muffles the incessant noise of modern urban life for a while.

And lest you think the fever’s gone to my brain, lessons from the birds:

Be persistent.

Don’t assume the situation hasn’t changed just because you can’t see anything new.

Stake your claim.

Talk to others in the business whenever you have the chance—their perspective is very different from yours.

A little competition tells you there’s a market.

A bandwagon everyone’s already on, may spell disaster.

Seek quiet time amidst the noise and haste.

 

Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson