Wednesday, August 25, 2010
The Wonderfully Patient Spouse and I were witness to a touching domestic drama of an avian nature during our visit to Bellingham last weekend.
We first noticed the baby seagull at breakfast Friday. A homely little character, with tufts of gray feather sticking out all his head, he was definitely out of his element, wandering up and down the concrete deck of The Chrysalis, poking at the grass and looking longingly (at least we thought so) out to sea.
He hung around all morning, pacing back and forth through the patio area and occasionally letting out pathetically heart-wrenching seagull sounds. It was only when we went outside to the deck chairs for a little reading/sun time that we realized Junior was not alone.
Perched on the railing of the hotel deck was a stately adult gull who, as we approached, deliberately looked down at Junior, then back up at us as if to say, "Touch one feather on that little gray head and I will turn your face into cat food faster than you can say 'Finding Nemo.'"
I, for one, don't mess with birds with wing spans nearly as wide as I am tall. I was more than happy to take my place on a chaise lounge and watch the Mrs. look after her grounded young-un'.
Note: Yes, I know we are making some gender-based assumptions that the adult bird was Mama Seagull. Live with it.
The Mrs. was attentive and vigilant throughout the day, following Junior wherever he wandered, cocking her head to examine him from time to time. She kept up a staccato-like running commentary that went something like "Wat. Wat. Wat." Pause. "Wat. Wat. Wat." If an unsuspecting guest meandered too close to Junior, she'd flare her wings and waddle menacingly toward the interloper. (Potential contradiction of terms: Can a waddle be menacing? I'm still trying to figure that out.)
Around noon, Junior looked up at the Mrs. plaintively and began bobbing his head up and down and clicking his beak. I swear the Mrs. sighed, fixed me with a resigned "Kids. They're bottomless pits" kind of look and lifted off in search of lunch. She returned shortly. She and Junior then treated us to a delightful little lunchtime polka around the patio that concluded with the Mrs. regurgitating up some tasty seafood concoction into Junior's gullet.
As the afternoon went on, I began to realize the Mrs. wasn't that much different than the WPS and myself. Well, aside from the fact that we can't fly, our feet aren't webbed and we have opposable thumbs.
BUT in the grand scheme of things, we are all parents. We hurt and worry when one of our own is feeling alone and adrift in the world. If we could, be it physically, spiritually and emotionally, we'd do everything in our power to ensure they didn't leave the nest until the world was a kinder, gentler place where they'd find instant comfort and happiness. And when we realize that can't and won't happen, pretty much all we can do is pace up and down on our respective railings in life, going "Wat. Wat. Wat." Pause. "Wat. Wat. Wat." or our species' equivalent thereof.
The seagull chick appeared to have fallen out of his Nest of Comfort and Safety. And, truth be told, our Number 2 Son was pushed out of his. Regardless of the circumstances, there we were. The Mrs. and us -- pacing back and forth, making sure both characters ate well and fending off The Bogeyman as best we could.
We, helping the N2S pack up and move on. The Mrs. and Junior? Well, I don't know. In the seagull world, there are no Honda Elements in which to escape. We wish them well.
But in the meantime: "Wat. Wat. Wat." Pause. "Wat. Wat. Wat."