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  • At Pier Park, gulls perch along the ropes along the breakwater. As I approach, about half of them launch themselves away over the water. Each utters an identical quiet squawk. A small protest. The other half remains calmly seated. I walk on the far edge of the breakwater-walk so as not to disturb them any more than necessary.

    A flock of squeaking twittering blackbirds mob a falcon. The falcon dives into a silver maple. It has a black and white striped tail and a tannish brown upper body. It moves so fast that I am unable to see any details of its markings; I think it was a Merlin. I stand under the tree and cannot find see it, even though I saw it fly into the tree. The blackbirds mill about and disperse.

    I pass a fisherman; I say hello. He says, with a puzzled look, "what?" I say hello again, wave, keep walking. He waves back, looks puzzled. He's an older man. I find myself wondering if he is retarded or has Alzheimer’s or something. What’s so strange and puzzling about saying hello?

    As I walk along, boats take turns peeing into the slips. It sounds like peeing because the predominant sound is the thin stream of water falling into the water of the harbor. Only if I listen very carefully can I hear the bilge pumps over the roar of motorboats coming in and out of the harbor mouth.

    Two motorboats pass a sailboat, banging hard against the waves. The sailboat cuts through the waves without a sound, their filled sails gleaming in the sun. If I had a boat, if I were that rich, it would be a sailboat, or a canoe, or a kayak--not a motorboat. I prefer the quiet. I want to hear the world.
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