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I’d Prefer to be a Seagull

When I was a kid, I used to stand out at the end of the pier in front of our cottage at Thunder Beach, on Georgian Bay. I’d stand with the wind at my back, so the seagulls could hover in front of me with the wind beneath their wings, so to speak. They’d line up in tiers, five or six levels high, dozens of wings gleaming in the summer sun.

I’d toss bits of bread up in the air to them. One golden beak after another would snap my gift out of the air and zoom off, while the next gull filled the space. It was a wonderful feeling, standing less than 3 feet from a soaring cloud of gorgeous birds.

They weren’t always soaring; sometimes they were walking on the beach. Waddling, actually, and picking up tiny edibles from time to time. Sometimes they were floating, comfortably bobbing over the waves. At will, they would rise from the surface and gracefully power themselves to… anywhere they want. They can literally go anywhere in the world. They can fly on a breeze, and if they’re tired they can sit on the water. If they want to avoid a storm, they can walk under a tree. If they’re hungry, they are capable of either scavenging or hunting. So, I’d Prefer to be a Seagull.

I’m a seagull on a weekend, walking along the beach at the foot of Toronto. Not only is this a lovely place, where people can stroll together on the boardwalk, but also, a law protects us seagulls. People can go to jail for hassling us. Cool, eh?

There’s a lot to eat along the boardwalk. People drop pieces of hot-dog bun, or a kid drops an ice-cream cone, and there we are, earning our keep. We pick up and consume the dropped things of others. When we’ve had enough, or some kids bother us, we just glide out to sit on the cool waters of Lake Ontario. The water’s clean, with things for us gulls to hunt, as well as scavenge.

The only thing wrong with the Toronto Beaches neighbourhood, which is gorgeous, by the way, is that winter comes to Toronto. It’s not serious, like Montreal or Buffalo, but it’s winter, and Lake Ontario freezes in places. I’d rather not stay by the city and live uncomfortably, even though there’s plenty to eat, even in winter.

I spread my broad, beautiful wings and lift off. I could go to Spain, or Australia, or anywhere. It’s no problem for me, the seagull. I can stop anytime, anyplace, to rest or eat. I think I’ll glide over to Malta for a few months. I’ll be “The Maltese Seagull.” Take care of yourself.

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