I remember dark blue dinner plates with with white seagulls on them. We used those plates when when I was very small, younger than five. The color was the deep blue of almost-night, somewhere between navy and navy with a hint of green. The ceramic wasn’t shiny like most dinnerware I see now. It was matte. We lived by the seaside on St. Simons Island, and I loved those plates. I remember them being chipped, and they are long gone now. They were pretty to me as a little girl, and the thought of them brings back happy memories of my beachy childhood.
Mom also had a seagull pendant on a delicate gold chain. The golden gull is in flight, wings spread. The jump ring is on the tip of a wing so the bird hangs vertically on the necklace, always flying. I loved that pendant, too, but unlike the plates, it is not gone. I’m wearing it now, after my morning swim.
I remember laughing at how perfectly Finding Nemo captured the seagull personality, with all the gulls barking “mine, mine, mine” when a crumb of food would fall anywhere. They are the pigeons of the seaside, but I still love them. I delighted in feeding them the heels of bread loaves when I was little, and watching them soar and squawk, with their bright white breasts and their grey wings. When I looked out over the waves to the ocean, I’d see clouds of them drifting above shrimp boats, waiting for the feast that would come when shrimpers dumped their nets on deck. Seagulls are always at the beach and by the ocean, and I associate the freedom of flight and connection to the sea with them.
We were recently in a guitar shop, and my husband picked up a used acoustic guitar to play with. He strummed it, and the sound was rich and beautiful. “I like that one,” I said. He held it the sound hole at eye level to show me the paper label inside the body of the guitar. The brand was Seagull. I want him to get it.
I wear a piece of blue-green sea glass on my finger, set in silver as a gift on our 20th anniversary. The suit I swim laps in is bright coral. My summer dresses are the colors of the Caribbean: aquamarine, sea foam green, Bahamas blue. My fingernails and toenails are painted hot Miami pink. I wear my mom’s seagull pendant. As long as we don’t live by the beaches and ocean, I’ll adorn myself with reminders of them.