George the Seagull pretends to not care while plotting his thievery..Coming up on a year ago, I visited an eye doctor. I was constantly crying. My eyes would not stop with the waterworks.

He told me the problem was I was not making tears, which was irritating my eyes, which was making them water like Marsh Creek after that rain we had at the end of July. He prescribed eye drops that would make me make tears so my eyes wouldn’t be irritated so they would not, well, make tears.

Amazingly, the drops work. If I don’t drip a drop in each eye, they are rather insistent in reminding me of my error.

But I spent the past two weeks on a rural coast, where the distance from low tide to high is about nine feet, and where the two major industries are renting seaside cottages to vacationing city folks, and harvesting lobsters to feed the vacationers. I hiked a public trail through private land, wandered through a cemetery where there rested people who had taken up final residence two centuries earlier, and waded in a tidal pond once studied by Rachel Carson.

Two days into my stay, I was struck by the revelation that I had not applied my eye drops since arriving.

One afternoon, my friend Terry sat on the porch to feed George, a seagull deserving of a name in recognition of sharper than average cleverness and initiative. Terry tore off pieces from an unsliced loaf of bread and lay them on the porch rail where the bird gently snatched them up. At one point, my friend held a piece of bread just a little too long, and George took it from his fingers. Without taking the fingers. The game went on, the gull taking a piece of bread and moving to the end of the rail to eat it, then approached for another piece.

Finally, the gray-winged mooch simply stood on the end of the rail, smacking his beak, ignoring the small pile of pieces Terry had torn from the loaf to share. Eventually, though, the bird slowly moved closer to the pile. Gently, George the bird moved to pick up a piece of bread …

Then, in one smooth move, dropped the small piece, moved one step closer, snatched the remaining quarter of a loaf, and flew off! The maneuver happened so quickly, Terry – who sat less than an arm’s length from the bread – could not react.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it some more: Just because wild critters don’t speak our language doesn’t mean they don’t understand the game.

All good things must eventually end, and there came time to load up the Outback and return home. My wife is the ocean person; I like the mountains. Sandy beaches begin on rocky mountaintops. And the trees should be changing color.

In other news, a new report from United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says if we don’t take action soon, any actions we take after 2040 to mitigate climate change may not be very effective. Or at least not effective enough to limit the harm to our food supply and the life of our planet’s inhabitants, especially including us.

Meanwhile, President Trump has been busily making it easier for mega-biz to further pollute our environs in pursuit of profits. He busily pursues canceling Obama regulations, not because they are unnecessary, but because they are Obama’s legacy.

Which probably had nothing to do with my eyes beginning to be irritated and tearful about 25 miles north of Harrisburg, reminding me I should have applied the drops before leaving George’s seaside table.