Monthly Archives: November 2012

The Day The Day After Thanksgiving

The funny thing is that in this picture, the sun is not making a statement for the day — it is the morning, but the sun is is not warming up, but flaring out. At least that’s how it all appears in a few minutes after the photo was taken (with an iPhone 4S).

The day wasn’t warm — it was the day after the day after Thanksgiving, and while the day before  had be grander than a piano, today was teasing us before blowing dark clouds over the sun. The whole thing, not unusual, reminded me of Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull, which begins…

“It was morning, and the new sun sparkled gold across the ripples of a gentle sea. A mile from shore a fishing boat chummed the water. and the word for Breakfast Flock flashed through the air, till a crowd of a thousand seagulls came to dodge and fight for bits of food. It was another busy day beginning. But way off alone, out by himself beyond boat and shore, Jonathan Livingston Seagull was practicing.

“A hundred feet in the sky he lowered his webbed feet, lifted his beak, and strained to hold a painful hard twisting curve through his wings. The curve meant that he would fly slowly, and now he slowed until the wind was a whisper in his face, until the ocean stood still beneath him.

“He narrowed his eyes in fierce concentration, held his breath, forced one… single… more… inch… of… curve… Then his featliers ruffled, he stalled and fell. Seagulls, as you know, never falter, never stall.

“To stall in the air is for them disgrace and it is dishonor.But Jonathan Livingston Seagull, unashamed, stretching his wings again in that trembling hard curve – slowing, slowing, and stalling once more – was no ordinary bird.

Most gulls don’t bother to learn more than the simplest facts of flight – how to get from shore to food and back again. For most gulls, it is not flying that matters, but eating. For this gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, but flight. More than anything else. Jonathan Livingston Seagull loved to fly. This kind of thinking, he found, is not the way to make one’s self popular with other birds. Even his parents were dismayed as Jonathan spent whole days alone, making hundreds of low-level glides, experimenting.”