As the winter slowly recedes from the landscape, I see the mottled brown-gray grass that constitutes my backyard. It has been bereft of the sight of the sun for so long, but not of the memory. Soon it shall return, grow, and prosper.
Outside my window this past week, flying above the yard, I have enjoyed the sight and sound of a lost seagull. In the waning winter of mid-Michigan, in the heart of our small city, we are rarely treated to the sound of the sea…once so familiar to those of us who traveled here from afar. It is the first time that I have ever seen a seagull here, and I am struck by how sad it makes me feel.
Days go by. It rains, it snows, and the sometimes even the sun peeks through the opacity of the gray. The seagull disappears, but never for long. When he returns, his arrival is harkened by the same bleak cry of longing…regret. Today he simply stood on my back porch stoop, and cried out into the gray. As much as one can attempt to (foolishly) detect emotion in a different species, I sense his confusion when he sits on the other side of the glass and peers in at me. I wonder if his cries are jubilation for his newfound occupation, floating above and exploring my dead backyard, or if he is secretly crying out to the faraway sea in the hopes that someday it might answer him, and he can find his way home.
I am haunted by the simple power of this lonely seagull in the city, and hope that he soon finds what it is that he is looking for. Maybe soon I’ll find what I’m looking for, will return to where I need to be, will grow, and will prosper.