Nature. It’s so … weird.
- 2007 Apr 18
Okay, so now you know how I became a Christian.
And I was going to expand and expound upon that a little—but then, just now, something happened that I feel the need to talk about instead. I saw a seagull try to eat a rock the size of my fist.
I’m sitting at the beach right now on my little fold-out nylon chair, writing on my brand new used laptop, right? Feeling very Gilligan Goes Thoughtful. Very "California Living."
So this seagull alights near me, the way seagulls do when they’re pretty sure you must have something on you to eat. I don’t have anything on me to eat—but figured I’d spend a few minutes staring at the bird anyway, since I know getting stared at drives seagulls crazy. This bird, now definitely In the Spotlight, quickly affected that famous Seagull Disdain, and began poking nonchalantly about in the sand, as if I weren’t there at all. He was a beautiful bird, with that white chest seagulls have that can practically blind you if the sun’s just right.
So this bird’s looking reasonably regal—right up until the moment he picks up this huge rock. And this wasn’t some little pebble he might have reasonably mistaken for a McNugget. This was a rock the size of a coffee mug. And the bird doesn’t just poke at the rock, either. I think the pressure of my looking at him somehow compelled him to open his beak wider than I knew they could open, wrap it around the rock, and hoist that bad boy right up. And when he did so, you could just see that the weight of the rock was practically breaking his neck.
But seagulls, of course, have always got to be cool, so, still clamping the rock, Jonathon Livingston Flintstone manages to turns his head a bit to fix me with his gaze. “What are you looking at?” he then seemed to say. “What—you don’t think I thought this was an abandoned bread roll, do you? Do I look stupid? I knew this was a rock. It just so happens that I enjoy holding rocks in my beak, okay? It's good for the neck muscles. Besides, I could eat this if I wanted to. I could. Believe me, I’ve eaten worse. Besides, it’s not like you’re bustin’ out the Cheetos, now is it, Lumpy?”
This incident reminded me of a time when I was once strolling through a forest in Northern California, and saw a squirrel fall out of a tree. I was watching this adorable little fellow, way up in a majestic redwood, gracefully leaping from one branch to the next—when suddenly he was doing something altogether different, which was crashing down through half a tree’s worth of branches before finally coming to a singularly ignoble “plunk!” on the soft needle bed below.
I stood staring, shocked. Never in a million years would I have guessed that squirrels ever just fell out of trees.
Seemed to be a pretty major news flash to the squirrel, too. He rebounded, though. Immediately upon landing, Rocky the Non-Flying Squirrel flipped over onto his feet, and, Natural Museum-style, just sort of froze there, as if pausing to fully compute what had just happened. That done, he then came to, and, just like he was having nothing more than a typical day dropping out of trees, leapt onto the tree’s trunk, and scittered his way back up, up and away.
And that is when I first learned the valuable Life Lesson that Stony the Seagull just reminded me of again: You can’t trust Mother Nature any further than you can throw her.
No, wait—that’s not a good lesson to learn.
The lesson is that nature is God’s way of showing us that, at its core, life is bonkers.
No, no, no. That’s not it, either. Stupid of me. Sorry.
What is the lesson I’m supposed to learn from boulder-hoisting seagulls, and squirrels dropping out of trees?
Suggestions? Answers? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org