Armed with the longest lens in our bag, my salty wellies and no object in mind other than some tangy and deep air, I headed toward the beach. I expected the thick fog, called haar, to be suspended over the sea from yesterday’s storm, and to have trouble seeing through it.
The air was heavy with moisture, but the farther from our flat I walked, the louder everything got, until the din completely expanded to fill every inch of air.
The sound was the drums of bursting waves and the woodwinds of constant squawks. At the water's edge, thousands of gulls bobbed on the waves; I’ve never seen anything so overpowering on the beach here. They were everywhere.
They weren’t mating, they weren’t really eating. They were doing nothing except squawk, jump, and land.
And then I found why. I found their plunder. Yards upon yards of seaweed matted with critters, all washed to shore in the storm yesterday, all picked through, the crabshells split open.
And as I walked looking through my camera at the birds, I realized my wellies were standing in a trove of intricate treasure. The textures of creatures usually hidden were strewn everywhere. It was fascinating and invigorating. The turquoise inside a shell. The endless colors of sand. Even the prints of birds' steps.
Ok, here goes my confession: (I’m afraid of birds!) There, I said it. It's true. The flapping and the beaks and the hard little eyes have always given me the creeps. I know it's laughable, and I'm trying to get over it, because living in a city and having to hide behind Walker from the pigeons is just going to be embarrassing. Nonetheless, today, I walked straight toward hundreds of gulls and crows, and saw woven patterns and layers of movement.
And in the noise of the winds and birds, I was quiet, and unafraid. I think capturing things helps me process them, helps me be unafraid. Maybe that's why I write, too.
Today was one of those days where I was moving all day, but seemed to accomplish nothing; I walked out the door with the camera expecting nothing. The adventure of finding critters strewn everywhere, and the objects placed right for me to shoot showed me again how little I expect.
And, this weekend we're seeing someplace we've never been, so stay tuned for more beauty plundering!