I’m a Prairie Child who enjoys spending time with toes buried in sand, ocean side. What can I say? I’ve thrilled to deep waters squatting on Aracadia’s rocks or traipsing along the soft beach bordering Calabogie Sound.
Anyone who has spent any time at all observing Life along briny coasts has seen seagulls flocking around trawlers and shrimp boats. It’s a sight to see. Birds by the hundreds pilfering whatever there is to be gleaned in the wake of fishers and seiners.
Landlubber though I am, I’m surrounded by gulls. The ring-billed gull, in particular, decided to homestead in the
area. They numbered in the thousands
some thirty years ago. Today? They number in the hundreds of thousands.
You can take the gull from the sea, but you can’t take the sea from the gull.
I saw an amazing thing today: hundreds of gulls flocking about a farmer discing his field. It was quite a sight. Here was a farmer on a tractor, turning the soil amidst a cloud of gulls. They swooped and soared, wheeling about, diving from great heights to ripples of loam. Feasting on the proteins exposed. I’d seen that sight, many a time, over saltwater...behind boats. Never over a farm field, though. Boat had morphed to tractor, liquid had morphed to loam, yet the gulls behaved the same.
I marveled at their telecommunication skills. How had these gulls, so far from water, found this field, this farmer and this plow? Made me realize how badly I suck at long-distance messaging.
I was mesmerized, enthralled. This unexpected ocean view over dry land caught me utterly by surprise.
Though my legs had grown weary pedaling so far from home, my heart reveled.
* * *
The roadside attractions did not begin nor end with gulls and grubs.
The day before, legs coated with sweat, lime dust and cottonwood seeds, I chanced upon a young coyote crossing my path on his/her way to a farmer’s field. I confess: I got a thing for young mammals. They’re curious. Every bit as curious as I was at their age.
It’s a funny thing. I pass by quite a few fields populated by grazing horses and cows. The older members of the herd content themselves with grazing, mostly. Preoccupied, almost exclusively, with matters of nutrition and romance. The colts and calves? They indulge in curiosity. I like that.
This specific coyote? Seemed a bit scrawny to me. I’ve been fretting about his/her general health ever since. ‘Cuz I’m a worrier. That’s what I do.
Regardless, this young predator eyed me suspiciously. (S)he moved a few steps farther afield as I pedaled closer. The eyes remained fixated on me, a lycra-clad apparition moving most bizarrely. I pedaled closer. Coyote sidled farther. Our eyes locked together.
I gotta say, I felt flattered. I am of an age when I draw nary a glance from younger homo sapiens. This “seventh decade” denizen has become accustomed to obscurity. Regardless, this young, rather malnourished, coyote found me most intriguing.
For that, I am grateful. I feel rather blessed, actually.
* * *