Here is my writing for the ‘Then and Now’ topic.
In summer, giant pohutukawa trees frame the picturesque bay, their leaves rustling in the gentle breeze. The loud, content chirrup of the songbirds perched on branches cuts deftly through the air. Sparkling waves wash gently over the glistening, golden sand, making a calming sound. Several small vessels rise and fall slowly, carried by the glistening water. A determined dog bounds along the beach and leaps forward into the froth, its powerful jaws clamping onto a stick. Obediently, it walks back to its smiling owner, who takes the damp stick gently from the dog’s mouth and tosses it again. It hits the water with a large splash.
Thousands of unique, colourful shells are strewn, seemingly randomly, across the bay. Sitting comfortably on large rocks, adults stare out towards the faint silhouettes of the islands in the far distance, backlit by the setting sun. A plethora of bright, orange hues fill the sky. Children laugh and play, creating complicated castles from sand, shells and seaweed. A small group of elegant seagulls drift over the water, seemingly effortlessly. Every so often, one squawks loudly to another in a satisfied tone.
The moment winter arrives, however, the bay is an entirely different place. A harsh wind whips colossal waves forward, sending them crashing wildly into the shore. The flimsy branches of the pohutukawas thrash helplessly, victims of the the stormy conditions. Thunder booms loudly as rain viciously pelts the damp ground. Jet-black storm clouds mask the sky. Not a single vessel can be seen, and indeed, the distant islands are no longer visible. Driftwood and seaweed litter the front of the bay. The bright, colourful shells, once plentiful, can no longer be seen, stolen by the powerful current and swept away.
Not a single person roams the bay, and the cheerful chirrup of the songbirds has become a distant memory. The only animals that still choose to brave the icy waters are the hardy seagulls. Occasionally, one quickly plunges its head into the water and emerges with a small, struggling minnow, which it proceeds to swallow gleefully.
No matter the what the weather is like, the lives of the seagulls continue.