Tom Stock

Poet, Essayist, Photographer, Naturalist

A Tuesday Midday Walk

Raw weather, wind, gray skies, and cold. I read the New York Times at Glens with a cup of coffee. At the table next to mine, I saw several bread crusts on a plate. No one watched as I scooped up the crusts in a napkin. This determined where I walked. I would take the crusts to the municipal pier and feed gulls.

Fallen leaves of sycamore are drab brown, crusty, large, and rustle loudly. I made my way down Deer Park Avenue on a fast walk. I saw a few women leashed to their designer dogs. They are little fluff balls who look fragile. They seem most at home on a fluffy couch with lots of pillows. These dogs are picked up, catered to, and pampered. I’m thinking “What about me?”

I reached the dock and saw no gulls, nor cars, nor dogs. I prepared to feed. I pinched off a small piece of bread and flipped onto a parking place. It took no more than ten seconds to attract a gull that swooped in and picked up the morsel on the fly. This was a signal to other gulls that have been in hiding. They appeared en mass. This is the ultimate word-of-mouth experience!

I observed several techniques for how the gulls operated. The Rush is a move make by a gull near the bread. they use their wings to ambush. It’s every gull for himself. If the others who fail don’t respond instantly, they are out of luck.

I tried to feed the three fish crows that knew they were outnumbered and out sized. I came close, the gulls always rushed to the reward. The crows tried to fight back, but they had little impact. A few birds took the bread on the fly. I saw some Olympic level acrobatic moves. I was observing the desperation of hunger. I wondered how often the average gull had a meal.

Having run out of bread, I started back. I turned into the Pier 44 parking lot and snooped. I found a wall that had milkweed stalks growing all along. A crack in the asphalt/wall interface caught mildewed seeds and they flourished. I had my clippers with me and cut 25 stalks. Most were black from decay. I saw the stalks as material for making mats.

Many houses have been lifted to protect them from flood surges. Such is the price that is paid to live here. Elevated homes look strange, out of place and have lost their charm. Owners value location more than architecture.

Every drainage grate had a white fish painted next to it to try to protect bay water. This is odd to because I keep getting mixed messages. There are many huge pickup trucks that look big enough to carry entire pallets of sheet rock. With another climate conference taking place, I fail to see the concern for our water but for air…not so much.

Back home, I clipped the milkweed stalks to make mats and saved lots of pods to salvage seeds and plant milkweed plants to encourage monarch butterflies.

Toms Stock                                                     November 14, 2017

Tom Stock

Tom Stock has been involved in the Long Island environmental and outdoor education community for decades.

He has published two books; THE NISSEQUOGUE RIVER: A JOURNEY and HIDDEN AGENDA; A POETRY JOURNEY.He has also published many essays and poems in such journals as the Long Island Forum and The Long Islander.

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1 Comment

  1. This is about home, nurturing and thinking of self or others….

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