I am walking on Venice beach.
The white sand stretches before me. The smell of salty air fills my nose and the wind blows my hair in all directions.
I see seagulls running to and from the waves. I see a seagull resting, its neck twisting its head to inspect the scenery.
What is it looking for? Does it appreciate the view like I do? Or, is it simply hungry?
What does the seagull seek?
I look up and see a single seagull flying.
Its wings flapping hard against the wind.
It is working so hard to move forward, but the wind is strong.
So strong, the seagull is hardly moving forward.
The seagull is flying sideways.
I watch that seagull and wonder why it’s working so hard to fight the wind.
How will it ever get there?
Other seagulls are resting and waiting.
Other seagulls are chasing crabs on the beach.
Where is this seagull going? What is driving it forward?
I keep walking.
I walk away from the seagull, but I can’t forget about it.
I can’t stop thinking about that bird’s instinct to fight, to push against the wind and not give up.
Days later, weeks later, I am still thinking about that gull.
I think about how our society celebrates the perpetual fight of the bird.
Our society believes in arriving somewhere and winning something.
Our society reveres those that can create the wind.
The winds of change created by technology and innovation.
The ideas, visions and ideals that supposedly shape us.
Weeks later, I am still thinking about that bird’s fight. Its strength.
How joyful and free it made me feel in those moments when it relaxed to soar.
Is there anything more magical than a bird that can fly?
How so many times in my life I’ve wondered why I am flying sideways, filled with fight.
How for a long time, I blamed myself for moving sideways.
How for so long, I never factored in the wind. I felt responsible for it. I felt tied to it.
I blamed myself for the wind. I thought it was my job to control it.
It’s been two weeks since I saw that bird. I have to write about it.
I have to acknowledge that I am not responsible for the wind.
I don’t blame the bird for flying sideways.
I admire the bird.
It’s the bird I remember most.