Today I passed a mixed group of gulls sitting in the sand, each staring at the sea. They barely moved as I approached, continuing their concentrated gaze, only stepping back a few paces. Why were they all studying the sea, I wondered, and what thoughts were going through their minds? There was no attempt at verbal communication, only a fixed gaze at the water. I’ve seen other birds do this, as if they are enjoying a few quiet, contemplative moments. It occurred to me how busy gulls typically are, how their days are spent, like those of humans, in finding food, raising young, and in brief social encounters. Perhaps, like humans, they sometimes take time to relax, to watch the water and let the sight, sounds, scents and the feel of the wind wash over them. Maybe there’s a good lesson for me in this. I need to set aside time when I tune out the distractions of the world and open myself to God’s presence and His gift of beauty. It isn’t necessarily a time of two-way communication, though that may be the outcome, but rather an opening of myself to what God would have me experience and hear. Please, Lord, help me make time to be silent in your presence and hear your voice in my heart. Amen.