Just for my pals!! and special for Eleni!!
Richard Bach. Jonathan Livingston Seagull
To the real Jonathan Seagull,
who lives within us all.
Portion A single
It was morning, and the new sun sparkled gold across the ripples of a
gentle sea. A mile from shore a fishing boat chummed the water. and the
word for Breakfast Flock flashed through the air, till a crowd of a
thousand seagulls came to dodge and fight for bits of food. It was one more
busy day starting.
But way off alone, out by himself beyond boat and shore, Jonathan
Livingston Seagull was practicing. A hundred feet in the sky he lowered
his webbed feet, lifted his beak, and strained to hold a painful challenging
twisting curve via his wings. The curve meant that he would fly
gradually, and now he slowed until the wind was a whisper in his face, till
the ocean stood nonetheless beneath him. He narrowed his eyes in fierce
concentration, held his breath, forced one… single… more… inch…
of… curve… Then his featliers ruffled, he stalled and fell.
Seagulls, as you know, in no way falter, never stall. To stall in the air
is for them disgrace and it is dishonor.
But Jonathan Livingston Seagull, unashamed, stretching his wings
once again in that trembling hard curve – slowing, slowing, and stalling when
far more – was no ordinary bird.
Most gulls never bother to understand much more than the simplest facts of
flight – how to get from shore to food and back again. For most gulls, it
is not flying that matters, but consuming. For this gull, though, it was not
consuming that mattered, but flight. Much more than anything else. Jonathan
Livingston Seagull loved to fly.
This sort of considering, he found, is not the way to make one’s self
common with other birds. Even his parents were dismayed as Jonathan spent
whole days alone, producing hundreds of low-level glides, experimenting.
He did not know why, for instance, but when he flew at altitudes significantly less
than half his wingspan above the water, he could remain in the air longer,
with less effort. His glides ended not with the usual feet-down splash
into the sea, but with a extended flat wake as he touched the surface with his
feet tightly streamlined against his body. When he started sliding in to
feet-up landings on the beach, then pacing the length of his slide in the
sand, his parents had been quite a lot dismayed indeed.
"Why, Jon, why?" his mother asked. "Why is it so tough to be like the
rest of the flock, Jon? Why can not you leave low flying to the pelicans,
the alhatross? Why don’t you eat? Son, you’re bone and feathers!"
"I never thoughts becoming bone and feathers mom. I just want to know what I
can do in the air and what I can’t, that’s all. I just want to know."
"See right here Jonathan " said his father not unkindly. "Winter isn’t far
away. Boats will be couple of and the surface fish will be swimming deep. If you
need to study, then study meals, and how to get it. This flying business is
all really well, but you can not consume a glide, you know. Don’t you overlook that
the explanation you fly is to eat."
Jonathan nodded obediently. For the subsequent few days he tried to behave
like the other gulls he genuinely tried, screeching and fighting with the
flock about the piers and fishing boats, diving on scraps of fish and
bread. But he could not make it function.
It’s all so pointless, he believed, deliberately dropping a tough-won
anchovy to a hungry old gull chasing him. I could be spending all this
time studying to fly. There is so a lot to understand!It wasn’t long just before Jonathan Gull was off by himself again, far out
at sea, hungry, satisfied, understanding.
The topic was speed, and in a week’s practice he discovered more about
speed than the fastest gull alive.
From a thousand feet, flapping his wings as hard as he could, he
pushed over into a blazing steep dive toward the waves, and learned why
seagulls never make blazing steep pewer-dives. In just six seconds he was
moving seventy miles per hour, the speed at which one’s wing goes unstable
on the upstroke.
Time after time it occurred. Cautious as he was, working at the extremely
peak of his ability, he lost control at high speed.
Climb to a thousand feet. Full power straight ahead 1st, then push
over, flapping, to a vertical dive. Then, every time, his left wing
stalled on an upstroke, he’d roll violently left, stall his appropriate wing
recovering, and flick like fire into a wild tumbling spin to the appropriate.
He could not be cautious sufficient on that upstroke. Ten occasions he tried,
and all ten times, as he passed by means of seventy miles per hour, he burst
into a churning mass of feathers, out of manage, crashing down into the
The important, he thought at final, dripping wet, need to be to hold the wings
still at high speeds – to flap up to fifty and then hold the wings nevertheless.
From two thousand feet he attempted once again, rolling into his dive, beak
straight down, wings complete out and stable from the moment he passed fifty
miles per hour. It took tremendous strength, but it worked. In ten seconds
he had blurred by way of ninety miles per hour. Jonathan had set a globe
speed record for seagulls!
But victory was short-lived. The instant he started his pullout, the
immediate he changed the angle of his wings, he snapped into that exact same
terrible uncontrolled disaster, and at ninety miles per hour it hit him
like dynamite. Jonathan Seagull exploded in midair and smashed down into a
When he came to, it was effectively right after dark, and he floated in moonlight
on the surface of the ocean. His wings had been ragged bars of lead, but the
weight of failure was even heavier on his back. He wished, feebly, that
the weight could be just adequate to drug him gently down to the bottom, and
finish it all.
As he sank low in the water, a strange hollow voice sounded inside
him. There is no way around it. I am a seagull. I am limited by my nature.
If I have been meant to discover so a lot about flying, I’d have charts for brains.
If I had been meant to fly at speed, I’d have a falcon’s brief wings, and live
on mice rather of fish. My father was right. I have to forget this
foolishness. I should fly residence to the Flock and be content as I am, as a
poor restricted seagull.
The voice faded, and Jonathan agreed. The location for a seagull at
night is on shore, and from this moment forth, he vowed, he would be a
typical gull. It would make absolutely everyone happier.
He pushed wearily away from the dark water and flew toward the land,
grateful for what he had discovered about perform-saving low-altitude flying.
But no, he believed. I am completed with the way I was, I am carried out with
every little thing I learned. I am a seagull like each and every other seagull, and I will
fly like one particular. So he climbed painfully to a hundred feet and flapped his
wings tougher, pressing for shore.
He felt better for his selection to be just one more a single of the Flock.
There would be no ties now to the force that had driven him to understand,
there would be no more challenge and no a lot more failure. And it was fairly,
just to cease pondering, and fly by way of the dark, toward the lights above
Dark! The hollow voice cracked in alarm. Seagulls by no means fly in the
Jonathan was not alert to listen. It is fairly, he thought. The moon
and the lights twinkling on the water, throwing out little beacon-trails
through the night, and all so peaceful and nonetheless…
Get down! Seagulls never fly in the dark! If you have been meant to fly in
the dark, you’d have the eyes of an owl! You’d have charts for brains!
You’d have a falcon’s short wings!
There in the night, a hundred feet in the air, Jonathan Livingston
Seagull – blinked. His discomfort, his resolutions, vanished.
Brief wings. A falcon’s quick wings!
That is the answer! What a fool I’ve been! All I need is a tiny tiny
wing, all I want is to fold most of my wings and fly on just the tips
alone! Quick wings!
He climbed two thousand feet above the black sea, and without having a
moment for thought of failure and death, he brought his forewings tightly
in to his body, left only the narrow swept daggers of his wingtips
extended into the wind, and fell into a vertical dive.
The wind was a monster roar at his head. Seventy miles per hour,
ninety, a hundred and twenty and quicker nonetheless. The wing-strain now at a
hundred and forty miles per hour wasn’t practically as tough as it had been
prior to at seventy, and with the faintest twist of his wingtips he eased
out of the dive and shot above the waves, a gray cannonball beneath the
moHe closed his eyes to slits against the wind and rejoiced. A hundred
forty miles per hour! And below handle! If I dive from 5 thousand feet
alternatively of two thousand, I wonder how fast..
His vows of a moment just before had been forgotten, swept away in that excellent
swift wind. Yet he felt guiltless, breaking the promises he had created
himself. Such promises are only for the gulls that accept the ordinary.
A single who has touched excellence in his finding out has no require of that type of
By sunup, Jonathan Gull was practicing once again. From five thousand feet
the fishing boats have been specks in the flat blue water, Breakfast Flock was
a faint cloud of dust motes, circling.
He was alive, trembling ever so slightly with delight, proud that his
fear was under manage. Then with out ceremony he hugged in his forewings,
extended his short, angled wingtips, and plunged direcfly toward the sea.
By the time he passed four thousand feet he had reached terminal velocity,
the wind was a strong beating wall of sound against which he could move no
quicker. He was flying now straight down, at two hundred fourteen miles per
hour. He swallowed, realizing that if his wings unfolded at that speed be’d
be blown into a million tiny shreds of seagull. But the speed was power,
and the speed was joy, and the speed was pure beauty.
He started his pullout at a thousand feet, wingtips thudding and
blurring in that gigatitic wind, the boat and the crowd of gulls tilting
and increasing meteor-rapidly, directly in his path.
He could not stop he did not know but even how to turn at that speed.
Collision would be instant death.
And so he shut his eyes.
It occurred that morning, then, just soon after sunrise, that Ionathan
Livingston Seagull fired straight by means of the center of Breakfast Flock,
ticking off two hundred twelve miles per hour, eyes closed, in a fantastic
roaring shriek of wind and feathers. The Gull of Fortune smiled upon him
this when, and no one particular was killed.
By the time he had pulled his beak straight up into the sky he was
still scorching along at a hundred and sixty miles per hour. When he had
slowed to twenty and stretched his wings once again at last, the boat was a
crumb on the sea, 4 thousand feet under.
His believed was triumph. Terminal velocity! A seagull at two hundred
fourteen miles per hour! It was a breakthrough, the greatest single moment
in the history of the Flock, and in that moment a new age opened for
Jonathan Gull. Flying out to his lonely practice location, folding his wings
for a dive from eight thousand feet, he set himself at after to find out
how to turn.
A single wingtip feather, he found, moved a fraction of an inch,
gives a smooth sweeping curve at tremendous speed. Prior to he discovered this,
nonetheless, he identified that moving a lot more than one particular feather at that speed will
spin you like a ritIe ball… and Jonathan had flown the first aerobatics
of any seagull on earth.
He spared no time that day for talk with other gulls, but flew on
past sunset. He discovered the loop, the slow roll, the point roll, the
inverted spin, the gull bunt, the pinwheel.
When Jonathan Seagull joined the Flock on the beach, it was full
night. He was dizzy and terribly tired. Yet in delight he flew a loop to
landing, with a snap roll just just before touchdown. When they hear of it, he
thought, of the Breakthrough, they will be wild with joy. How significantly far more
there is now to living! Rather of our drab slogging forth and back to the
fishing boats, there’s a reason to life! We can lift ourselves out of
ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and
intelligence and skill. We can be cost-free! We can understand to fly!
The years ahead hummed and glowed with guarantee.
The gulls had been flocked into the Council Gathering when he landed, and
apparently had been so flocked for some time. They had been, in reality, waiting.
"Jonathan Livingston Seagull! Stand to Center!" The Elder’s words
sounded in a voice of highest ceremony. Stand to Center meant only excellent
shame or wonderful honor. Stand to Center for Honor was the way the gulls’
foremost leaders had been marked. Of course, he thought, the Breakfast Flock
this morning they saw the Breakthrough! But I want no honors. I have no
want to be leader. I want only to share what I’ve found, to show those
horizons out ahead for us all. He stepped forward.
"Jonathan Livingston Seagull," stated the Elder, "Stand to Center for
Shame in the sight of your fellow gulls!"
It felt like becoming hit with a board. His knees went weak, his
feathers sagged, there was roaring in his ears. Centered for shame?
Not possible! The Breakthrough! They cannot recognize! They’re wrong,
they are incorrect!
"… for his reckless irresponsibility " the solemn voice intoned,
"violating the dignity and tradition of the Gull Household…"
To be centered for shame meant that he would be cast out of gull
society, banished to a solitary life on the Far Cliffs.
"… one day Jonathan Livingston Seagull, you shall discover that
irresponsibility does not pay. Life is the unknown and the unknowable,
except that we are place into this planet to consume, to keep alive as long as we
A seagull never speaks back to the Council Flock, but it was
Jonathan’s voice raised. "Irresponsibility? My brothers!" he cried. "Who
is a lot more responsible than a gull who finds and follows a meaning, a higher
goal for life? For a thousand years we have scrabbled soon after fish heads,
but now we have a reason to live – to discover, to discover, to be free of charge! Give
me a single opportunity, let me show you what I’ve found…"
The Flock may well as properly have been stone.
"The Brotherhood is broken," the gulls intoned together, and with one particular
accord they solemnly closed their ears and turned their backs upon him.
Jonathan Seagull spent the rest of his days alone, but he flew way
out beyond the Far Cliffs. His 1 sorrow was not solituile, it was that
other gulls refused to believe the glory of flight that awaited them they
refused to open their eyes and see. He discovered a lot more every single day. He discovered
that a streamlined high-speed dive could bring him to find the rare and
tasty fish that schooled ten feet under the surface of the ocean: he no
longer required fishing boats and stale bread for survival. He learned to
sleep in the air, setting a course at night across the offshore wind,
covering a hundred miles from sunset to sunrise. With the same inner
manage, he flew by means of heavy sea-fogs and climbed above them into
dazzling clear skies… in the extremely times when each and every other gull stood on
the ground, realizing nothing at all but mist and rain. He discovered to ride the higher
winds far inland, to dine there on delicate insects.
What he had when hoped for the Flock, he now gained for himself
alone he discovered to fly, and was not sorry for the price tag that he had
paid. Jonathan Scagull discovered that boredom and worry and anger are the
causes that a gull’s life is so quick, and with these gone from his
thought, he lived a lengthy fine life indeed.
By Erwss, peace&enjoy on 2008-12-23 12:16:27
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