On my amazing, beautiful, breathtaking run along Bellingham Bay on the official “South Bay Trail” (thank you citizens of Bellingham for passing the levy that paid for this trail), I came across a fascinating sight.
I was almost done with the run and working up to a “You’re almost done! Push! It!” sprint when out of the corner of my eye, I caught sight of a seagull terrorizing … a starfish? “Huh,” I thought to myself, “Do seagulls even eat starfish!?” And thanking the universe for a legitimate excuse to stop my death march sprint to the finish, I came to a full stop and watched.
The seagull kept trying to pick up the starfish. Given that the starfish was 4 or 5 times larger than the seagull’s entire head, I put the possibility of the seagull making any headway with the starfish at about nill.
To my surprise and amazement, after about five minutes of toying with the starfish, the seagull managed to get the starfish just at the right angle to gulp 2 arms and the bulk of the body into its mouth and down its throat.
And then … it just sat there.
The starfish’s body was larger than the seagull’s head. Adding the arms into the equation, there was no way that the seagull was going to manage to gulp the starfish down (bringing us back to the original question: Do seagulls even eat starfish?)
I watched for about ten more minutes. The seagull sat there, with a stupefied expression on its face. I imagined it was thinking things like:
“Great, now what, Dummy?”
“Ewwww, the little tentacles are moving! I would spit this thing out, but I don’t want to look stupid since I have an audience.”
“Hey, wait a minute! Do I even eat Starfish!?!”
While I waited for the Seagull to do something, (anything!) I began to notice the detailed beauty of my surroundings. I saw many many more starfish. I saw beautiful fluffy purple starfish working their way up among the rocks. I saw the contrasting colors of the orange starfish set off beautifully by the surrounding kelp grass. I actually turned off my iPod and heard the waves and the wind. For once, I really noticed the beauty of the trail I run down every few days.
It was a calming, focusing 15 minutes before the chaos of the day started.
There are lessons to learn from the fifteen minute interlude with the gull and starfish. Some that come to mind are:
1. Stop and smell the roses! Don’t miss the scenery in pursuit of the goal.
2. It’s good to challenge yourself.
3. But sometimes, if you challenge yourself, you may end up stuck with a massive lump in your throat, unable to breathe.