I was driving home from work one night, going through the Fort Worth stockyards. Driving on the brick streets, I felt the familiar rattle of the tires bouncing over every brick. As I went past the stockyards and was about to make a left-hand turn, I stopped at a red light and looked at the empty streets and the remains of what used to be a Mexican supermarket.
Waiting for the red light to turn green, my eyes were drawn to the street lamps lighting up the empty parking lot, and it was then that something caught me. For a second, I could not believe what I was seeing, but as my eyes focused, and I saw a seagull flying over the parking lot, hovering here and there as it searched for some scrap of food.
The first time I saw seagulls was also the first time I had gone to the ocean, Galveston in my case. As a child, coming out into the brisk oceanfront morning, I heard and saw the seagulls, heard them call and swoop along the surf as my nostrils flared with the smell of salt.
Now as I saw the seagull flying over the empty lot, my memories carried me back to the Seawall and the sound of waves bearing down into an oncoming crash. Staring, I wondered where the seagull had come from and why it was so far inland, as it was both odd and unique to the Fort Worth night sky. As the light turned green and I made my way, I stared once more at the seagull seemingly hover overhead, almost as if it were a puppet dancing on strings.
Driving home, I thought about the seagull for the rest of the journey. Of seeing them swoop for fish and trash on the Galveston ferry, of the constant cawing as they flew, their wings tinged by the incoming sunset I remembered in my childhood. As I drove, I took a sense of comforting nostalgia in that memory, one of the fondest I had as a boy. Stopping in front of my house and pressing the garage-door opener, I hoped I could show my sons seagulls in exactly the same way. For that I hoped.
This is an article in my Subdivision Journal series. I am trying to use mindfulness to observe nature in my neighborhood. Other articles in the series:
Meeting With Magpies
The Tree Blossoms
The Dead Bird
A Budding Tree
An Encounter With a Falcon
The Carrying of Sounds
The View from My Window
Carl Wade Thompson is a poet, essayist, and the graduate writing tutor at Texas Wesleyan University. He has published poetry and memoir essays in The Mayo Review, The Concho River Review, One in Four, Anak Sastra, The Galway Review, The Blue Collar Review, Piker Press, The Eunoia Review, Blue Minaret, Nebo Literary Magazine, Alphelion Literary Webzine, and Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas. He lives on the outskirts of Fort Worth, Texas. His poems explore the link between the urban and the rural.
Photo of boy and seagulls by Irina Schmidtjk