Suicide or Life

Be…As Long As You Can…Be

Please…stay a little longer.

Some of you who have followed my previous post have seen that not all nesting Oystercatchers are successful in their breeding.

A mysterious destruction of a nest to the West recently occurred, leaving us to wonder if someone intentionally tossed the eggs into the sea. We hope that was not the case. Life, fragile life, is so precious. On that mound of sand, new life was not…to be.

But a bit further East another pair successfully produced two chicks.


Newborn oystercatcher chicks, Long Beach, NY


Yes, two “fuzzballs” (Beach Maintenance named) appeared from the land of not to the land of being. Two innocents whose heritage dates from the same firmament as you and me, two beings encased in fragile shells were plopped onto the sands of Long Beach. The shells cracked open and…now they are.


Sure, they already are at risk of the perils of life on planet Earth, a life of stress. Gulls swoop to make a snack of them

DSC_1231 crp .jpg

Oystercatchers in close pursuit of threatening gull

while they have needs for their own lunch.


But they will grow to glide above the frothy surf,


and rest in the morning sun.


Then they too will engage in the ecstasy of mating and bring yet more life into being.


Life, so precious, so beautiful. Sometimes I put my camera down and immerse myself in life outside my camera’s viewfinder. My thoughts sometimes go to humans who risk this vista for prison’s cement walls and steel bars.

Now my thoughts can’t help but go to those who end their very being, their place under the sun. This place of failure and triumph. This place of cruelty yes, but also incredible delight.

Long Beach, NY Animal Control Officer, Brian Biller took his own life at 31, the winter after I took this photo. I was so impressed with his dedication, his love of animals, that I spoke about him and a visiting seal:

Seal w Brian BillerDSC_9662.jpg

Long Beach Animal Control Officer, Brian Biller, April 2015

Now, I have no expertise in mental illness diagnosis or treatment. But as do so many of us, I do care.

Depression, despondency, just plain giving up. It might make “sense” to those choosing to leave us and this life. Perhaps, in their desperate state, they fail to see the temporary nature of their overwhelming sea of sadness. I know it recurs again and again like a riptide of despair, a pulling from family, from friends, from all of us.

They can’t seem to summon a willingness to continue…to be. All it takes for someone so troubled is a raised hand, a beckoning. There are lifeguards who can pull one safely back to shore.

Fellow Earth trekker, there was a time when just like a baby chick, we weren’t…then we were. Just as now, there is a time before despair and time after despair.


We are here ever so lightly, a fragile existence as tenuous as the shell of an egg upon the sand. Perhaps ten or twenty years from now you will have touched others with your story of rescue. You may even type out a humble blog post about survival, you may bring them hope. You may be their lifeguard.  We need you, fellow trekker. So, please…stay a little longer.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1 800 273 8255

Be as well as you can be,


2 replies »

  1. Hi Lee,

    Feels like I’m writing to myself.

    Glad to have met you and happy that you like my photos. Awesome that you chose to follow my blog too. The Oystercatchers have become almost as iconic in Long Beach as our boardwalk. It happens every spring.

    The whales will be coming in the near future too. Used to be just October and November but now it could be almost any time. Actually, I saw some a few weeks ago but they were too far out to photo.

    Thanks again, my pleasure.


  2. Thank you for sharing the photos of the Oystereaters, especially the babies. I have never seen hatchlings before! We met on the boardwalk…and I did sign up for your blog even though I do not reside in Long Beach.


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