Pelican Magic

Wet, gray weather was dominating most of what are supposed to be the long sunny days of spring and now summer. Far beyond the month of April showers, well into July, the rain kept coming. The tomato plants were barely six inches tall. There would be no tomatoes this year. It was too dark, too wet, too cold. The uncomfortable breeze blew through the window, swollen open. Utility and water use were down – a silver lining, but one that wasn’t visible in the stubbornly dense clouds dominating the skies day after day. Another afternoon inside, sheltered, dry, during the season meant for reveling in nature.

Defiantly, out into the rain, Sara ventured into the park. Almost empty, it was a different place than it was when all the sun-seeking bodies were not tucked away. Quiet, distant, shrouded, the park took on an aura that Sara couldn’t quite describe. On the park’s smaller lake, a pelican listed quietly, totally unperturbed by the state of the weather, a vivid contrast to the frustrated mood Sara struggled against. She stopped to stare, marveling at the ability of the bird’s wings to shed the rain. “Better than Gortex,” she thought. This pelican, alone, despite the reputation of pelicans being gregarious birds, stopped to watch Sara watching her. Her better-working brain and body considered Sara’s. Her side mounted eyes studied Sara’s psyche, seeing the cracks. Perceiving that Sara had ventured too far from the gifts of the natural world, the pelican began to coerce Sara out of her darkness into the life-giving reality of the rain.

Pelicans have been used to symbolize Christ, but this one was her own earthly bird, not the savior’s double. Still, she used her god-like powers to beckon Sara’s psyche, “Float out, onto the pond with me,” the bird beckoned. Unable to resist the plea, Sara’s weeping slid into the pond. Her cold damp soul followed. The bird sailed through, scooping the gray slime into her bill. Sara could feel the tight space, the closeness of the hard bill, the terror of joining the unfamiliar. Then she felt the lightness, surrendering to the pelican’s power over the wet world. Sara yielded, and the pelican’s bill strained out her grief.

Soggy and confused, Sara looked back to the pond. A pair of mallards floated aimlessly in the distance, the brilliantly colored male following close behind his brown mate, she watching to see that he did. The rain falling in pin-point waves, stinging Sara’s cheeks, reminded her of the magic of the wild world. She melted into the gray, acknowledging the brilliant greens it had produced, joining the drizzling gray of the sky, the deeper gray of the lake, the shimmering green of the trees. It was another one of those wet days, another in a long string. But the surprise of a pelican pierced the veil of sadness.

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