November 29, 2008


Seagull in Normandy
Originally uploaded by 5348 Franco.

Seymour is a fine, clean, white seagull. I know it and you would know it if you saw him. But Seymour doesn’t know it. He thinks he’s a duck.

After all, his duck mother, Lucy, hatched and raised him yet never told him he was a gull. Her nurturing nature made her gather his little egg into her own batch after she found it this past spring all alone in the marsh grass.

Lucy loved him just that way she loved her four other little ducklings. She raised them well. So did Quackers, his father. (The author acknowledges having been an unapologetic anthropomorphist since birth.)

When Quackers taught the little ones to bob for yummy food at pond bottom, Seymour bobbed just like his brothers and sisters. When Lucy taught the brood how to glide and turn in the gentle tide flow, Seymour glided and turned with grace. In every way Seymour was raised a duck. He missed only one lesson: the need to fly south when Quackers announced the day.

Today, however, on this late November date, Seymour is so alone. As he did yesterday and the day before, Seymour is floating on the tide in Hampton’s Meadow Pond. His white feathers and orange beak shine as he glides atop darkening blue water. He gently turns left and then, a moment later, deftly swings right. He is searching for his family oblivious to why they three weeks ago left Meadow Pond.

The late day sun sits low above the western horizon. Acres of golden shoreline marsh grass make Seymour and the author feel warmer than they really are. The gentle breeze that glides along with him now ripples both the grasses and the water.

Seymour is once again looking for his family. Meadow Pond is the only home he’s known. “When are they coming back?” I imagine he asks himself. “Why did they leave me?”

He glides along deeper into the pond, pausing to look in every shoreline nook. A group of four brown ducks paddle by giving him no notice. Seymour watches them and tries to join them. He wants to ask them if they know where his family is, but they move away at his each attempt. Seymour slowly, indeed dejectedly paddles away

I watched Seymour’s drama unfold daily since last spring. Poor Seymour doesn’t understand that his family flew south for the approaching winter. Soon Meadow Pond will freeze over and sleep beneath a windswept blanket of snow. Open water will appear here and there from the strong current. But most of the pond will be unrelentingly hard and cold.

Spring will come though and Seymour’s’ family will return to the pond. One day, after all of his searching and searching, Seymour will hear the Lucy’s and Quackers’ cheerful quacks of homecoming. He will be so happy.

Seymour is indeed, and for all intents and purposes a duck.

Do you think Seymour will fly south next fall when repetitive cold nights and chilly days foretell of yet another approaching winter?