Peculiar Bird

These days I feel like cousin to a pelican – ponderous creatures relying on thermals to gather them along as they soar above the sandy shores of the California coastline where I grew up. Rarely alone and most often in small groups, pelicans possess a sharpshooter’s eye. As these stork-like birds target a meal below, they hang suspended for a few seconds considering position, then free-fall head first into the depths. Moments later up they pop, contentedly bobbing on the surface where they repeatedly stab the sky with long necks, settling catch into storage.

Each time I spot a pelican in flight I am drawn back to the past, cruising along in our little ChrisCraft on the great grey Pacific waters, watching these majestic birds glide and dive through the receding fog. My dad would then recite anew his version of the 1910 limerick penned by Dixon Lanier Merritt:

A peculiar bird is a pelican;
It can hold more in its beak than its belly can –
It can hold in its beak enough food for a week;
But I’m darned if I see how the helican.

This is a time of gathering, of measuring the value of the catch and then digesting what is taken in. It is clearly not a time to dole out more than a day’s worth of energy at a stretch. Mindfulness in the moment seems the wisest course. Life marches on and I bear stark witness to it, swept along on the shifting tides that converge and divide, over and over, each time leaving behind a trail of detritus we must live with or remove from a cluttered shoreline.



14 thoughts on “Peculiar Bird

  1. Love your analogy Bela…if pelicans are ponderous, they could inspire anybody! But I envy their freedom and serenity…their ability to carry so much in their beak doesn’t cause any stress and therefore they must be at ease with their world. Ah! we are so different! Loved the last paragraph, which carries subtle messages. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Aloha, Balroop; I love all of nature’s creatures for that very reflection of ease and grace ‘under fire,’ as it were, from the need to eke out survival, day to day. And yes, we Are so very different, for sure.

      I’m glad you enjoyed that last paragraph; it was satisfying to write. My writing group here on the island has been working with ‘prose poetry.’ This is one attempt at it; gathering ideas from past writing and bringing it and further reflections into the present.

      Enjoy your weekend, dear Balroop, and peace. ❤

  2. Such wise words Bela.. to gather together and digest.. May we all of us watch our diets and what we are prepared to swallow..
    Love and Hugs my friend.. So much here held within your words.. ❤ xxx

  3. ‘shifting tides that converge and divide, over and over, each time leaving behind a trail of detritus we must live with or remove from a cluttered shoreline.’
    really touched to see this line as it is a perfect picture-description of how some of us are experiencing neptune’s transit through pisces. with the shoreline and beach as the psyche’s place where the veil glides up and then slides back, new ‘junk’ and treasures are revealed to be sorted for our continued growth.
    thank you for putting it so well.

    1. Weaver, thanks for your input. So interesting! Because. Not only did I write this stanza ‘now,’ but in the past, I’ve had a dream that I’m on the beach (no beach I’ve seen in the physical, or a mishmash of All the beaches I’ve ever seen), and in a panic, looking for Chris. There has been something like a tsunami, and I pick up the wave and look under it, to see all sorts of junk. And there Chris is as well (I think dead – been awhile since I’ve had this dream, though I do remember long, flowing blond hair and he’s been bald for quite awhile now). In this case, I think he probably represents my own Animus, but again it’s been so long ago, the details are foggy. Still, I wonder if this occurred during a signifcant Neptune/Pisces transit …

      So interesting, all the ways in which we can observe Psyche 😉 Thanks again for your comment! Aloha.

      1. Haha, well. I do dream 😉 Can’t really pinpoint this, except if I ever find mention of it in some ‘old’ dream journal, in which I only jotted down the really wild dreams. Anyhow, have a good weekend! And thanks again for all. ❤

  4. I think I’m a cousin of the pangolin, but that’s another story. I gather this is prose poetry, from what you say to Balroop. What constitutes prose poetry, and what are the qualifiers, may I ask? I may have a stab at it myself. H ❤

    1. Hahaha, I love those scaly critters! And somehow, knowing you as little as I do, it fits somehow 😉 So here it is, “Pelican, meet Pangolin.” Penguin, sweeping straight down like a dive bomber out of the sky, while Pangolin curls up, impervious. And so they never quite have the conversation both intended, but hey. In their own way, they have met their match.

      As for prose poetry, we were given examples by one of our group members who teaches at the University of Hawaii Hilo. It reminds me a lot of how I write prose anyway, paring it down in a poetic way. Honestly, Hariod, that’s all I’ve done – just mulled prose and poetry as best I can. Try googling it, that might help with the qualifiers you seek. Hugs to you! ❤

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