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Richard Bach - Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Richard Bach - Jonathan Livingston Seagull

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Published by Frozzy17
The book tells the story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a seagull who is bored with the daily squabbles over food. Seized by a passion for flight, he pushes himself, learning everything he can about flying, until finally his unwillingness to conform results in his expulsion from his flock. An outcast, he continues to learn, becoming increasingly pleased with his abilities as he leads a peaceful and happy life.
The book tells the story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a seagull who is bored with the daily squabbles over food. Seized by a passion for flight, he pushes himself, learning everything he can about flying, until finally his unwillingness to conform results in his expulsion from his flock. An outcast, he continues to learn, becoming increasingly pleased with his abilities as he leads a peaceful and happy life.

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Published by: Frozzy17 on Aug 04, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Richard Bach
To the real Jonathan Seagull,who lives within us all.
PART ONEIt was morning, and the new sun sparkled gold across the ripples of a gentle sea. A mile from shore a fishing oat chummed the water. and the word for Breakfast !lock flashed through the air, till a crowd of a thousand seagulls came to dodge and fight for its of food. It was another us" da" eginning.But wa" off alone, out " himself e"ond oat and shore, #onathan $i%ingston &eagull was practicing. A hundred feet in the sk" he lowered his weed feet, lifted his eak, and strained to hold a painful hard twisting cur%e through his wings. The cur%e meant that he would fl" slowl", and now he slowed until the wind was a whisper in his face, until the ocean stood still eneath him. 'e narrowed his e"es in fierce concentration, held his reath, forced one... single... more... inch... of... cur%e... Then his featliers ruffled, he stalled and fell.&eagulls, as "ou know, ne%er falter, ne%er stall. To stall in the air is for them disgrace and it is dishonor.But #onathan $i%ingston &eagull, unashamed, stretching his wings again in that tremling hard cur%e(slowing, slowing, and stalling once more(was no ordinar" ird.)ost gulls don*t other to learn more than the simplest facts of flight(how to get from shore to food and ack again. !or most gulls, it is not fl"ing that matters, ut eating. !or this gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, ut flight. )ore than an"thing else. #onathan $i%ingston &eagull lo%ed to fl".This kind of thinking, he found, is not the wa" to make one+s self popular with other irds. E%en his parents were disma"ed as #onathan spent whole da"s alone, making hundreds of lowle%el glides, e-perimenting.'e didn+t know wh", for instance, ut when he flew at altitudes less than half his wingspan ao%e the water, he could sta" in the air longer, with less effort. 'is glides ended not with the usual feetdown splash into the sea, ut with a long flat wake as he touched the surface with his feet tightl" streamlined against his od". hen he egan sliding in to feetup landings on the each, then pacing the length of his slide in the sand, his parents were %er" much disma"ed indeed. /h", #on, wh"01 his mother asked. /h" is it so hard to e like the rest of the flock, #on0 h" can+t "ou lea%e low fl"ing to the pelicans, the alhatross0 h" don+t "ou eat0 &on, "ou+re one and feathers21  /I don+t mind eing one and feathers mom. I 3ust want to know what I can do in the air and what I can+t, that+s all. I 3ust want to know.1  /&ee here #onathan1 said his father not unkindl". /inter isn+t far awa". Boats will e few and the surface fish will e swimming deep. If "ou must stud", then stud" food, and how to get it. This fl"ing usiness is all %er" well, ut "ou can+t eat a glide, "ou know. 4on+t "ou forget that the reason "ou fl" is to eat.1 #onathan nodded oedientl". !or the ne-t few da"s he tried to eha%e like the other gulls5 he reall" tried, screeching and fighting with the flock around the piers and fishing oats, di%ing on scraps of fish and read. But he couldn+t make it work.It+s all so pointless, he thought, delieratel" dropping a hardwon ancho%" to a hungr" old gull chasing him. I could e spending all this time learning to fl". There+s so much to learn2
It wasn+t long efore #onathan 6ull was off " himself again, far out at sea, hungr", happ", learning.The su3ect was speed, and in a week+s practice he learned more aout speed than the fastest gull ali%e.!rom a thousand feet, flapping his wings as hard as he could, he pushed o%er into a la7ing steep di%e toward the wa%es, and learned wh" seagulls don+t make la7ing steep pewerdi%es. In 3ust si- seconds he was mo%ing se%ent" miles per hour, the speed at which one+s wing goes unstale on the upstroke.Time after time it happened. 8areful as he was, working at the %er" peak of his ailit", he lost control at high speed.8lim to a thousand feet. !ull power straight ahead first, then push o%er, flapping, to a %ertical di%e. Then, e%er" time, his left wing stalled on an upstroke, he+d roll %iolentl" left, stall his right wing reco%ering, and flick like fire into a wild tumling spin to the right. 'e couldn+t e careful enough on that upstroke. Ten times he tried, and all ten times, as he passed through se%ent" miles per hour, he urst into a churning mass of feathers, out of control, crashing down into the water.The ke", he thought at last, dripping wet, must e to hold the wings still at high speeds(to flap up to fift" and then hold the wings still. !rom two thousand feet he tried again, rolling into his di%e, eak straight down, wings full out and stale from the moment he passed fift" miles per hour. It took tremendous strength, ut it worked. In ten seconds he had lurred through ninet" miles per hour. #onathan had set a world speed record for seagulls2But %ictor" was shortli%ed. The instant he egan his pullout, the instant he changed the angle of his wings, he snapped into that same terrile uncontrolled disaster, and at ninet" miles per hour it hit him like d"namite. #onathan &eagull e-ploded in midair and smashed down into a rickhard sea.hen he came to, it was well after dark, and he floated in moonlight on the surface of the ocean. 'is wings were ragged ars of lead, ut the weight of failure was e%en hea%ier on his ack. 'e wished, feel", that the weight could e 3ust enough to drug him gentl" down to the ottom, and end it all.As he sank low in the water, a strange hollow %oice sounded within him. There+s no wa" around it. I am a seagull. I am limited " m" nature. If I were meant to learn so much aout fl"ing, I+d ha%e charts for rains. If I were meant to fl" at speed, I+d ha%e a falcon+s short wings, and li%e on mice instead of fish. )" father was right. I must forget this foolishness. I must fl" home to the !lock and e content as I am, as a poor limited seagull.The %oice faded, and #onathan agreed. The place for a seagull at night is on shore, and from this moment forth, he %owed, he would e a normal gull. It would make e%er"one happier.'e pushed wearil" awa" from the dark water and flew toward the land, grateful for what he had learned aout worksa%ing lowaltitude fl"ing. But no, he thought. I am done with the wa" I was, I am done with e%er"thing I learned. I am a seagull like e%er" other seagull, and I will fl" like one. &o he climed painfull" to a hundred feet and flapped his wings harder, pressing for shore.'e felt etter for his decision to e 3ust another one of the !lock. There would e no ties now to the force that had dri%en him to learn, there would e no more challenge and no more failure. And it was prett", 3ust to stop thinking, and fl" through the dark, toward the lights ao%e the each.4ark2 The hollow %oice cracked in alarm. &eagulls ne%er fl" in the dark2#onathan was not alert to listen. It+s prett", he thought. The moon and the lights twinkling on the water, throwing out little eacontrails through the night, and all so peaceful and still...6et down2 &eagulls ne%er fl" in the dark2 If "ou were meant to fl" in the dark, "ou+d ha%e the e"es of an owl2 9ou+d ha%e charts for rains2 9ou+d ha%e a falcon+s short wings2There in the night, a hundred feet in the air, #onathan $i%ingston &eagull(linked. 'is pain, his resolutions, %anished.
&hort wings. A falcon+s short wings2That+s the answer2 hat a fool I+%e een2 All I need is a tin" little wing, all I need is to fold most of m" wings and fl" on 3ust the tips alone2 &hort wings2'e climed two thousand feet ao%e the lack sea, and without a moment for thought of failure and death, he rought his forewings tightl" in to his od", left onl" the narrow swept daggers of his wingtips e-tended into the wind, and fell into a %ertical di%e.The wind was a monster roar at his head. &e%ent" miles per hour, ninet", a hundred and twent" and faster still. The wingstrain now at a hundred and fort" miles per hour wasn+t nearl" as hard as it had een efore at se%ent", and with the faintest twist of his wingtips he eased out of the di%e and shot ao%e the wa%es, a gra" cannonall under the moon.'e closed his e"es to slits against the wind and re3oiced. A hundred fort" miles per hour2 And under control2 If I di%e from fi%e thousand feet instead of two thousand, I wonder how fast:'is %ows of a moment efore were forgotten, swept awa" in that great swift wind. 9et he felt guiltless, reaking the promises he had made himself. &uch promises are onl" for the gulls that accept the ordinar". One who has touched e-cellence in his learning has no need of that kind of promise.B" sunup, #onathan 6ull was practicing again. !rom fi%e thousand feet the fishing oats were specks in the flat lue water, Breakfast !lock was a faint cloud of dust motes, circling.'e was ali%e, tremling e%er so slightl" with delight, proud that his fear was under control. Then without ceremon" he hugged in his forewings, e-tended his short, angled wingtips, and plunged direcfl" toward the sea. B" the time he passed four thousand feet he had reached terminal %elocit", the wind was a solid eating wall of sound against which he could mo%e no faster. 'e was fl"ing now straight down, at two hundred fourteen miles per hour. 'e swallowed, knowing that if his wings unfolded at that speed e+d e lown into a million tin" shreds of seagull. But the speed was power, and the speed was 3o", and the speed was pure eaut".'e egan his pullout at a thousand feet, wingtips thudding and lurring in that gigatitic wind, the oat and the crowd of gulls tilting and growing meteorfast, directl" in his path.'e couldn+t stop5 he didn+t know "et e%en how to turn at that speed. 8ollision would e instant death.And so he shut his e"es.It happened that morning, then, 3ust after sunrise, that Ionathan $i%ingston &eagull fired directl" through the center of Breakfast !lock, ticking off two hundred twel%e miles per hour, e"es closed, in a great roaring shriek of wind and feathers. The 6ull of !ortune smiled upon him this once, and no one was killed.B" the time he had pulled his eak straight up into the sk" he was still scorching along at a hundred and si-t" miles per hour. hen he had slowed to twent" and stretched his wings again at last, the oat was a crum on the sea, four thousand feet elow.'is thought was triumph. Terminal %elocit"2 A seagull at two hundred fourteen miles per hour2 It was a reakthrough, the greatest single moment in the histor" of the !lock, and in that moment a new age opened for #onathan 6ull. !l"ing out to his lonel" practice area, folding his wings for a di%e from eight thousand feet, he set himself at once to disco%er how to turn.A single wingtip feather, he found, mo%ed a fraction of an inch, gi%es a smooth sweeping cur%e at tremendous speed. Before he learned this, howe%er, he found that mo%ing more than one feather at that speed will spin "ou like a ritIe all... and #onathan had flown the first aeroatics of an" seagull on earth.'e spared no time that da" for talk with other gulls, ut flew on past sunset. 'e disco%ered the loop, the slow roll, the point roll, the in%erted spin, the gull unt, the pinwheel.

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