“Hope is the thing with feathers" Emily Dickinson
A Tale of Two Seagulls
I spent the Summer of 2019, living in a little thatched cottage by the sea called ‘Hope Cottage’, with two Herrings Gulls for company.
They would wake me up at dawn,
“Rise and shine! breakfast time!”
appear back to polish off lunch (leftovers gleaned from the local fishmonger),
“An eloquent sufficiency! merci beaucoup!"
and then sit with me for hours, on the patio, where we would soak in the suns rays, listening to the rolling waves. Just breathing and being.
It was a rare, halycon interlude in life.
I would sometimes show people, photos of my seagull visitors and depending upon their reaction, knew whether or not, we would be friends...
Because it was only a short term let, I had to desert my seagull companions too soon and resume the struggles of a nomadic life, all the while, striving for success in my creative endeavours, embarking upon projects, in a flurry of enthusiasm, only to later abandon them, because I felt overwhelmed or my heart wasn't fully in it.
I felt defeated and weary. I wished that life could always be as peaceful as it had been, with the seagulls. They seemed to have something to teach me. The words of the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu came to mind,
“Nature does not hurry and yet everything is accomplished.”
I surrendered to a simple life of walking, reading and 'slow creating', spending more time in nature and simply paying attention to whatever inspiration arose, spontaneously, instead of striving for end results.
During this time, I discovered the nature memoir. Tales of high adventure to lyrical gardening memoirs. Memoirs about overcoming homelessness, addiction and grief, shot through with natures ability to heal and inspire hope. Within their pages, I found wisdom and solace. I found my awareness of the natural world about me expanding. I felt a growing appreciation for nature and indeed, the plight of nature. These stories both resonated with me on a personal level and seemed particularly relevant for the world of today.
I thought how nice it would be to have company to read along with, an idea started forming...
...but back to my seagull teachers,
Would you like to see some photos? : )
Summer 2019, Liberté and Égalité at Hope Cottage