Sketch Fridays #76 – Vacation. Art done with Procreate on the iPad Pro.

Last weekend was my 40th birthday. According to everyone it’s a milestone event, made less momentous by having to celebrate it during a pandemic and, in California, while wild fires rage all around.

So, we got away from the valley and hit up the coast. Growing up on the coast, I still get a sense of renewal and charged vigor from proximity to the ocean despite rarely going to the beach when I lived there. It was just there, all around you, soaking into your skin.

We took our dog with us and, being a valley dog, he was unaccustomed to the sheer obstinance of sea birds. They are creatures who have no fear of human beings; in fact, they expect attention (and food, mostly) from their human guests and will not abandon their chosen posts until they are satisfied.

But that’s the secret––seagulls are never satisfied.

Rusty, our 90-lbs. chocolate lab, keeps a very constant and careful vigil over our property when we’re home. Any passing jogger, kid on a bike, delivery person, squirrel, neighborhood cat, barking dog in the far distance, passing car, and even a strong breeze shaking the branches of a tree meet the loud end of his wrath. It’s often annoying, but it’s nice to know he cares.

As expected, within an hour of our arrival at our coastal destination, a stubborn seagull landed on our balcony, and Rusty made sure to let him know the rules.

But the seagull had not yet been satisfied; so, the seagull didn’t care.

Being an animal in humanity’s kingdom must be a strange existence. You are guided by intrinsic, primal rules that emerge as instinct. When you see an uninvited intruder, you holler, making them aware of their violation and of your dominance. But what do you do when they not only don’t leave but don’t even respond or react?

For my dog, at least, you keep barking.