I had just a split second to figure it out when, in a move I couldn't believe -- one serendipitous gesture by nature -- a huge wave pushed the gull back toward the beach. He was flattened against the sand and struggling as the undertow pulled him back. It was just enough time for me to dive into the water, grab him around the wings, and tuck them against his side to constrain his moves.
Like Georgia O’Keeffe’s flower, the gull, along with many urban birds, is overlooked and pushed aside, sometimes literally under foot on crowded sidewalks. Also like O’Keeffe’s flower, when you take the time to really look at that gull and embrace the wholeness of her — her yellow bill, her gray coverts, her ear spots or orbital rings, the white tips of her stretched wings — she becomes your world not just for the moment, but in perpetuity.
In this regenerated, re-planted Bolsa Bay, bird calls and murmurs bubble up from the terns, Sanderlings, scoters, avocets, grebes, plovers, pelicans, sparrows, Willets and egrets who call this haven home. The marsh is barely shielded from Pacific Coast Highway, with just a parking lot and thicket separating refuge from roadway.