When he was three we would take him to the beach so he could play on the sand. We'd sit down on a towel and watch him happily potter about in that space between us and the waves, only he didn't want to happily potter about, he only wanted to chase seagulls. With ferocity.
Off he'd run, with his shovel swinging in the air above his head - as it turns out, a shovel is not only a very good tool for digging with, but also for threatening seagulls. They'd hop with increasing urgency along the beach as he got closer, or take to the skies - but this only made him run further and faster.
I quickly learned that the line of thought "I'm sure he's just about to give up and turn around now" can never be depended on when it comes to seagulls.
|A boy and his gulls.|
For a boy who loves animals and other forms of nature, I found it odd and a little disturbing that this same compassion did not extend to seagulls - but it is now three years later, and I have found far other things to worry about. I will never know what the seagulls did to him in a former life, because Caden cannot remember, and the seagulls will not tell.
What did you do, seagulls, what did you do? Did you steal his snacks from his hand? Bury his beach toys, or peck at his ears and toes? Or was it something far more sordid, something not he nor I would even have the capacity to dream of?
But they will never tell.
So he will continue to chase them, shovel swinging, and they will continue to flee, for it is a vendetta that will not die - not in this lifetime, nor perhaps in the next.