Joshua sat on the ridge that overlooked the shoreline. The morning moved on trepidation’s feet; slow and lumbering as if afraid to awaken the slumbering surf. He watched the sun rise above the trees behind him, knowing full well that soon he would be bathed by her engulfing warmth. Joshua waited.
His legs were splayed out before him, propped up upon his elbows soaking up the sounds of the water lapping the sand. Joshua heard a murmur as well. A cooing, a trill of a sound, repeating in as much as the waves receded and returned. The gulls were welcoming the day as well.
Joshua was amazed by their multitude. As the morning painted the landscape in it’s light, it became more apparent. The sand was blanketed in shades of white and gray and black, moving in unison, a oscillation of avian beauty. One bird raises it wings and stretched. Others mimicked his motion. Here at the lake – it may as well had been an ocean, the day began.
Joshua drew a sip from his drink box, watching. Studying, noting the flex and sense of community these birds displayed. Another gull flaps its wings, affording him space; drawing others to its movements.The flapping continued as it lifted off of the surface, drifting to the right swooping over the masses. More followed. All aroused they took flight moving a bit closer on the beach to land and migrate again. Joshua came to his feet. He wanted a closer look.
Joshua was twelve, and his curiosity was his most endearing quality. There was so much he wanted to accomplish before he was poisoned by young adulthood. His innocence enhanced him; he was fearless and driven.
Slowly, he approached the swarm of birds. Some were spurned to take evasive actions, others just moved to allow the boy to pass by. When he reached the center of the congregation, he stopped completely surrounded by his feathered friends. The sound of the waves crashing was muted by the cooing that raised in volume; a crescendo that filled Joshua’s head. He closed his eyes and felt the surreal sensation that made his feel more like one of these weathered birds instead of a wide-eyed young boy.
Again the flapping commenced. Bird nudging neighbor, awakening to the activity. More birds lifted off the ground. Joshua followed suit, extending his arms and moving them up and down in sync with his “brothers”. The birds moved more rapidly, and Joshua aped their arc. Running now, flapping arms and spindly legs churning, burning energy and kicking up the granular path. Suddenly, Joshua lunged forward, leaving his feet and furiously undulating his appendages. He had achieved flight. Briefly. And just as suddenly, the boy came crashing down to earth.
The gulls laughed and cackled. A wave of birds dipped down toward the boy and then headed out over the water. Joshua pulled himself off of the sand, brushing the grains from his lap, spitting up as much as well. He had a mouthful of sand and a belly full of laughter, again mimicking the gulls. And he smiled. Joshua knew little boys couldn’t fly. But his imagination rose up to take him wherever his heart desired to go; even joining the birds over the water. He was okay with that. Joshua rationalized that maybe he’d learn to surf instead!