I was mowing the grass on a cloudless Sunday, when a cloud darkened the ground below me. That’s odd, I thought. Rogue cloud?

I searched the sky for the interloper but found none. There was a seagull, but surely he couldn’t cast such a broad shadow, could he? He could. The angle of the setting sun was such that Johnathon Livingston was able to fully eclipse it with his mottled white body.

I pondered on this — the idling mower vibrating my hands — how such a small figure could have such a large impact on my immediate world. Then I stopped thinking and got back to work. Then I stopped again. I remembered being out on my paddle board during another similarly cloudless (but warmer) day. I was cruising the sand flats between the green can and the gut, searching the tan bottom for life. Nothing much.

Then I saw wide dark shadows, one after another as if a storm had rolled in without warning. I looked above me, no clouds but enough disorientation to almost lose my balance on the bobbing fiberglass. Perhaps the momentary effort to right myself focused my attention to realize what was not above me, but below me: stingray after stingray. An inverse winged flight — my world, for a moment, turned upside down.

Mower still running, I return to the present. I imagine that I may be caught unawares more times than I know, staring ahead, looking outward but seeing inward. A rather odd man standing still in loudness. Chappy does this to me. Perhaps it is the existence, in close proximity, of two great endless unknowns — sky and sea — that forces this almost unconscious pondering. I am, after all, just a bystander to the incredible journeys of the birds above and the “birds” below. There is a constant movement in the stillness of Chappy that will, at times, catch one’s breath.