The Seagull

I am a seagull, of no land,

I call no shore my home,

I am bound to no place,

I fly from wave to wave.

Empress Elisabeth of Austria

A couple years ago, visiting Vienna, I came across this little poem written by the Empress and saw myself in it. The more I learned about her while visiting the Imperial Palace, the more I could feel like we probably shared some traits. She aspired for the freedom she couldn’t have. Despite being loved by her husband and children, despite the comforts of living in the palace, the luxury of her clothing, despite her beauty and being admired, she simply could not be happy.

I wonder if she felt guilty about it. She seemed to have everything one needs to tick the box, and yet she simply couldn’t. And in these four lines, she says it all. She should never have been bound, as a seagull cannot be tamed, cannot stay ashore for too long.

It is so much easier not to be like a seagull.

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