Herring gull below my balcony.
I live over a slip of water, on the leeward side of a wharf. Weather, good and bad, is driven from the west, so we don’t get it directly, oriented east as we are. The worst weather is saved for the other direction and when we get hit with bad weather it can serious. Once, during a nor’easter two winters ago, Carole and I watched a boat break lose of its mooring and bounce up and down the slip crashing into everything it could possibly crash into. We were having dinner while watching the storm, and when the boat came bucking past I called someone who could address such things. A team of men in a small boat appeared within minutes and set to chase. Eventually, wind blowing, water roiling, they lassoed the craft and towed it back to the dock.
This time of year, however, every day is perfect and every evening is more than perfect, were that possible. We have a lot of gulls here, herring gulls mostly, what a lot of folks would call a sea gull. There is no such thing as a sea gull, properly. Here in Maine we have herring gulls, ring-billed gulls, laughing gulls and the largest of the gulls, the great black-backed gull. The black-back is a bully and is aggressive, a trait that seems ubiquitious in creatures large and ornery. Not just creatures, come to think of it, large countries too. Large countries in particularly, to think of it even more. Anyway, the gulls scream and cavort with sunrise and provide us our morning alarm. Winter is a good time to sleep in. The gulls mostly go on vacation.
We see harbor seals out in the river frequently. They don’t come down our slip, as it’s too busy with water craft. But three or four wharfs up, behind Harbor Fish, there is a seal that frequents at high-tide. The people who work there call him Walter. Walter is a good name for a seal, I think. It seems as if it would a good name for a goat too, but that is beside the point.
I’ve lived here three years and like it very much. But I do miss the woods. Water is particularly nice to have in one’s view. Mountains, though, I think are best to look at. They tend to better trigger the imagination in me. As a young man the sight of mountains always prompted a desire to get into them. Now, I am more content to just enjoy the look of them.
This rummination is my way of saying that place matters, which is something I’ve not always understood. I’ve said it before–that place matters–and everyday I am reminded of time spent that mattered less importantly in places that held less promise. It is best to spend one’s time in places that matter most. Saying such a thing seems to be stating the obvious, but the obvious at times seems less an option than a requirement. That I wish I’d understood earlier.