Real photo postcard, circa 1916,
the boardwalk at Atlantic City, New Jersey.
I collect seagull images (mostly photographs, but also ceramics).
Seagulls epitomize where I live and my love of the ocean.
This postcard is an ebay purchase.
This seagull appears to be a taxidermy one, or a fake one.
Despite that eewww factor, the photograph itself is lovely.
The lace-up shoes, the twig bench, the painted sea scene in the background, the beret in her lap...
It seems fitting to post another excerpt from Kitchen Table Wisdom.
This story is called "The Wood-of-No-Names" (page 70)
"Just before she meets with Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Alice enters the wood-of-no-names and encounters a fawn. Neither the fawn nor Alice can remember their names. No matter. They walk a ways together, 'Alice, with her arms clasped lovingly around the soft neck of the Fawn,' until they come to the edge of the wood. Once there, the fawn suddenly remembers its name and looks at Alice with horror. 'I'm a Fawn!' it cries out, 'and, dear me! you're a human child!' Terrified, it runs away.
As a child I spent many summers alone on a deserted beach on Long Island, gathering shells, digging for little clams, leading a far different life than the city life I led the rest of the year. Day after day, I watched everything, developing an eye for change in all its subtlety. The rest of the year in New York City, I did not look directly at anyone I did not know and did not talk to strangers.
There was great peace in those summers and a new ability to be without people and yet not alone. I have many good memories of that time. Every morning the sea would wash up new treasures--pieces of wood from sunken boats, bits of glass worn smooth as silk, the occasional jellyfish. Once I even found a pair of glasses with only one lens left in them. Some of the most vivid of these memories concerned the beautiful white birds that flew constantly overhead. I remember how their wings would become transparent when they passed between me and the sun. Angel wings. I remember how my heart followed them and how much I too wanted wings to fly.
Many years later I had the opportunity to walk this same beach. It was a great disappointment. Bits of seaweed and garbage littered the shoreline, and there were sea gulls everywhere, screaming raucously, fighting over the garbage and the occasional dead creature the sea had given up.
Disheartened, I drove home and was halfway there before I realized that the gulls were the white birds of my childhood. The beach had not changed. The sacred lives beyond labels and judgment, in the wood-of-no-names."