Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Pelicans on a Rainy Day

The beauty of the brown pelican is the color of its underwing.  Black.  Unremarkably tan of back and upperwing, noticeably white of head, when brown pelicans flap between soars, their underwings flash eerie hints of mystery.  When they disappear on a long slow glide into the marsh grass, they send me right back to the page to ferret out more.

Another thing about them is the absolute stillness of their heads and bodies in flight, even as their wings alternate between easy pumping and long soaring.  Their heads are hunched back as if fused to their shoulders, holding their eyes steady, the better to see a fish with.   There's a lesson for a writer in their calm.  In their patient focus.

And another thing.  Their activity over the marsh does not stop in the rain.  Few other birds are visible out there in this weather,  but the pelicans carry on.  I guess if one dives into water for a living, what matter a few raindrops?  The brown pelicans of Fripp Island, S.C. are practically revising today's chapter for me.  dkm

17 comments:

Niki said...

I think pelicans are beautiful. I especially loved Nigel in Finding Nemo. Perhaps not as much as Bruce the Shark though! :)

dkm said...

Who the heck is bruce the shark? I'm sure my total absence of popular knowledge is showing with that question! But love the nemo characters..

Niki said...

The great white vegetarian shark in Nemo. :)

dkm said...

Haha--how embarrassing is that? Should have paid more attention when I "sort of" watched it with my grandchildren :-).

Patricia Lichen said...

Oh, a lovely essay about a striking bird. Guess you're knee-deep in your writing now!

dkm said...

Ahem---you'd think---wish the pellies could teach me to resist the draw of blogging! Signing off NOW, boss---chapters 7,8,9 today---or dunk my head in the marsh---

Jane Robertson said...

"What a wonderful bird is the pelican
His beak can hold more than his belly can
He can hold in his beak
Food enough for a week
But I'll be damned if I know how the hell he can."

Sorry - couldn't resist! Love the writing lessons on offer from the pelican...

dkm said...

That wonderful reflection has got to be from Ogden Nash. Not?

bibi said...

I think there may be a lesson for me from the brown pelican...his activity does not stop in the rain. hmmm. I have been almost paralyzed this week in my rainy world. Maybe it is time to pick up my life where I left off.

I absoulutely love your way with words, thanks for the beautiful post.

dkm said...

Jane et al, I did some more research on my brown pelican---lots out there---I was wrong about Ogden Nash, but in good company with those who miscredit him with the limerick Jane mentioned--it was actually written by Dixon Merritt---here's the most interesting link I found---about both the pelican and the limerick:
http://www.northcoastjournal.com/outdoors/2009/02/26/wonderful-bird-pelican/

Pukeko G said...

Hi Deb .. In response to your enquiry about the standard size of our pine cones re owl size .. about 120mm. Quite small really :o)>

NicoleB said...

I would love to see them one day - they sound like precious, amazing birds!

NicoleB said...

PS: You still have my 'old' Blog feed logged in. I've now moved permanently to blogger :)

dkm said...

Thanks, Nicole. I think I've fixed it, but I'm no techie! Can't figure out how to get your new blog to show up on my list---but signed up for e-mail notices so I won't miss it.

NicoleB said...

Usually, if you go all the way down your page, right side of the blog link list, at the end of it is a little wrench.
Click that and you should be able to edit the links :-)

dkm said...

Thnx for the refresher, Nicole!

Jane Robertson said...

Just caught up on your limerick reference Deb. I remember it as a child - I think my Dad used to quote it :-)