Eye on a gull

Ol’ Yellow-Eye.

Gull on granite, North Hampton Beach.

My walk started here yesterday, at a surprisingly high tide, with an offshore-stormy surf but otherwise pleasant conditions.

This gull did not feel like flying away when I approached and knelt to take his picture. He could not be bothered. I believe he is an American Herring Gull, Larus smithsonianus.

The Herring Gull is the quintessential basic “seagull,” with no distinctive characters that immediately set it apart from other gull species. The characteristic gull of the North Atlantic, it can be found across much of North America.

Looks like he is entering his third winter, with “extensive dusky streaking on an otherwise white head and neck” and “eyes yellow or buff.” In the second winter, herring gull eyes are “pale straw or brown.” Gray legs shade to pink and get pinker as a herring gull gets older.

Must make own warmth now

Centennial Hall belfry, North Hampton

Photo taken October 22, just three weeks ago but a season of color away from today’s nearly naked landscape. Is it winter? No. There are 40 days until winter begins.

We have just busted through into sunshine today after days? a week? of dark cold rain or at least drizzle. Not that cold, but cold enough that the heat has dried out the indoors and my skin is protesting like a cranky eczemic child, while outside it was almost lung-chokingly damp and my  pleurisy-type symptoms have returned.

Hot itchy painful skin, cold damp chokey lungs. Brittle temper. I forget, how do we get through this half of the year?… to which I am mildly allergic.

a) By keeping furiously busy, with constantly added to and updated lists, and forced daily exercise.

b) By self-pampering with warm baths and moisturizers and pleasantly-scented candles and pots of fiery chili and soft nesting pajama-type clothing and glasses of dark red wine and a cornucopia of books by the bed and long deep sleeps full of epic dreams.

I go back and forth.

I am writing in pajamas. I am sipping green tea. I took my fish oil + D capsules and probiotics. I had breakfast and three cups of coffee. I am writing minutes for last night’s Cable Advisory Committee meeting. I am writing an article for NH Magazine on alternative winter sports. I am writing a short Amazon review of my father’s book. I am writing the first Gift of Warmth article. I am gossiping on Facebook. I am going for a walk. I am waiting for my new camera in the mail.

I am trying to turn up the flame on the little lamp of my being, to keep warm and light the growing dark. It will grow dark after 4 p.m. today.

Deer season began yesterday. Shotgun blasts punctured the daylight, seared the edges of twilight and even popped some holes in the night. Quieter today. Maybe they got all the deer. Tonight the stars will shine through the bullet holes.

Here is my November. And here. And here.

Cold feels wrong to me, like the absence of something. Even though it is the normal condition of our climate, particularly in November, and pretty much through April.

I need a mental climate adjustment.

Here too, in the cattails.

North Hampton’s iconic bathhouses

Bathhouses, southern end of North Hampton Beach, in North Hampton.

These were once owned by a summer hotel on Little Boar’s Head, and used by their guests for changing into bathing clothes. Now they are privately owned by different families and individuals.

“Site of c. 1890 bathhouse; reconstructed in 1980. National Register District.”