We live near a large body of water in Chicago and because it is a large mass of water, the city, inevitably, has seagulls. At least, I think they are seagulls. They sure look like them.

When Brian and I ride to the lake and lounge on the concrete steps and watch the water seagulls are a part of the moving landscape. In the city, they can pick at the garbage that floats on the water, and they hover above trash cans. In an urban center, seagulls can seem like the other flying pests which include pigeons. In this environment, it can be hard to appreciate a seagull. It may be hard to see the precision with which they target food. Or, to see how they seem to nod and wink at each other as they flock together in groups on the sands of North Avenue beach. It can also be difficult to see the grace with which they hover above you in one spot, riding the air currents like a sophisticated piece of machinery. It can be hard to see all that when seagulls are one of the many animals (rats, pigeons, roaches) that we in the city try to avoid or exterminate.

This changed for us recently when Brian purchased a new acoustic guitar, called — you guessed it — a Seagull. Actually, we liked the first one so much, we bought a second one the next week (and thank you Bush for that economic stimulus package, for like other loyal Americans, we spent it). seagull guitars are made in Canada of trees that have already fallen, rather then been felled to make guitars. Thus, they are environmentally and economically responsible. Brian likes this a lot. He’s eco-conscious and feels slightly guilty all the time for most of the injustices of the world. Knowing his guitar is not contributing to it helps him sleep better at night (and I’m totally serious).

I, however, like best the little drawing that sits on the headstock. It is a bird in flight. It’s a nice metaphor for a lot of things that have to do with singing, writing, and music. It suggests freedom, possibilities, determination, quickness, wit, smarts, and … balls. Ever see a seagull steal a fish away from a half-witted duck? It’s quite a sight and the duck comes off looking like a twit.

So, we like the new guitars (one six-string, one twelve) and we like the seagull on the headstock. And, of course, where there is new gear there are new songs. So, stayed tuned…Short Punks could be doing Simon and Garfunkel in the near future….