This Thursday’s Child–Gull 5609 on Approach

My generous friend decided that it was time we took a trip to the beach. It’s really difficult to photograph sunsets from our suburban apartment building. Other structures and treetops block the view.

We chose to go to Tunnel Park, in Holland, MI. I went snap-happy even before we’d reached the shore. Besides sunsets, I like getting shots of sailboats. That day, I wished I had better distance vision and a bigger camera than the point-and-shoot I own, because most of the boats were too far off shore for ideal shots.

Still, I could capture the late afternoon light on the dune grass and the waves, people-watch, and use the shoreline vista in an attempt to catch a bird in flight. Unlike my Toastmaster acquaintance, photographer Jesse Raven, I need the entire shoreline, and often only manage to capture the tip of a wing, or a tail feather.

An adolescent gull stood on the dune near my seat. I took a shot or two of him, in his mottled feathers, but he didn’t fly, being more interested in scavenging snacks other people had dropped.

I checked the sun’s progress toward the horizon, then turned my head to the south. There, gliding in on the lakeshore breeze, came gull number 5609, on approach. I lifted the camera, got the bird in my view screen, held my breath, and pushed the button, hoping he wouldn’t choose that moment to veer away.

When I realized my reflexes had cooperated, I grinned. It’s always a great thrill to succeed at something. Better yet, it’s worth my while, and yours, to develop recall of that first thrill when a goal is more complicated than a single push of a camera button.

Sure, we’ve written a blog post, or a chapter, or even finished a manuscript first draft, but for some writing projects, achieving print publication takes a while. An accomplishment in one area can lead to an achievement in another field. On the day I caught gull 5609 on approach, I had no idea I’d be blogging about him for you, today.