When summer came

Other people’s words about … summer

Summer came, clanging days of glaring sunshine in the seaside town where I live, the gulls screaming in the early dawn, a glittering agitation everywhere, the water a vista of smashed light.

From ‘Aftermath
by Rachel Cusk

I live in a seaside suburb like Rachel Cusk. Gulls scream outside my window most mornings, flapping over the roof, perching on the top of the stobie poles. I find great solace in their shrieks. Like the call of a wattlebird, there is nothing elegant or beautiful in a gull’s cry. It is gloriously unapologetic, and harsh, and guttural, and wild.

There is a particular kind of summer day at the beach: the sand is so hot along the path from the road across the dunes that if you are making your way barefoot — or if you are a dog — you have to run over it towards the shore to prevent the soles of your feet (or paws!) from burning. The sky throbs; the air is windless, hot, salt-scented; and gulls stand in the shallows, waggling their legs as they stare down into the clear water, searching (I think) for fish. It’s so quiet in the hot stillness that you can hear the little lapping, bubbling noises the water makes as the gulls’ legs move about in it.

A vista of smashed light.
A vista of smashed light

I haven’t swum in the sea much this summer. Due to the storms in December and early January, the water is muddied and polluted. But I love the beach at this time of the year, regardless. I feel no glittering agitation, as Cusk does: only joy.

It’s the heat. And the light. And the gull-shriek-rent air.

The one-legged seagull

Questions, questions, questions

Sunset at Taperoo 17 January 2016 7.15 pm
Sunset at Taperoo
17 January 2016
7.15 pm

If you’ve seen a one-legged seagull, you’ll know what I mean.
Why are there so many of them?
Do they lose their legs during epic battles for territory?
Why don’t their predators attack other parts of their bodies? (Do seagulls have predators?)
And then, too:
How do one-legged seagulls survive?
Do they grow replacement legs, like reptiles grow new tails?
Or does the remaining leg grow stronger over time?
So many questions.
I could google for answers, I suppose,
but I’m enjoying the mystery …