A few weeks back I was leaning on the rail of a cruise ship sailing the inside straits of Alaska. Miles away were large, looming mountains on the Alaska coast.
It wasn’t the land that was intriguing though, it was the hundreds of birds on both sides of the ship. They were a species of seagull and they were everywhere! Some sat on the water riding out the waves.
Most, however, flew about a foot above the water and didn’t miss a flap of the wing. Occasionally, one would scoop down to pick up some tasty morsel of food flying at break neck speed.
There were so many over the water, yet it seemed they flew with organization, almost marching band style. They were like a symphony of different instruments playing different notes that make no sense alone, but all together play beautiful music. The birds darted and dodged, skillfully avoiding mid-air collisions, moving in groups in their beautiful, living maze of feathered music.
Ten hours later, I leaned on the same rail, same place, now steaming toward Canada with nothing but open water in sight.
No land, no birds, nothing but horizon and open sea.
After a few minutes, I noticed one solitary bird, the same kind as earlier. I looked everywhere, but there were no other birds in sight.
He skimmed the water in a solitary flight. I wondered where he came from and where he was going. Was he lost? Is it even possible he could get lost?
Why wasn’t he with the hundreds of his own kind? Was he a social outcast?
I watched that bird a long time until he eventually flew out of sight. Somewhere over the quiet, open seas he flew by himself, for who knows how long, to who knows where.
It sounds silly, ridiculous actually, but truth be told, I wanted to communicate with that bird. I wanted to understand it, to hear what it was thinking, to know its story.
It just seemed so, different, so human like.
Maybe I’ll come across a lonely person today lost on the open seas of life. Maybe I can hear what they’re feeling, and listen to their story.
I bet it’s remarkably similar to that bird…..