They say, “Stop and smell the roses.” So, self-consciously, I do. Some of them are pleasant—it’s a nice gesture, such as it is.
Riding through the baylands today it smelled anything but like a rose. Nonetheless, I stopped... ...to watch the magnificent ballet of the pelicans. So I say-- “Stop and watch the pelicans.”
I wrote a poem about them years ago. I still wonder when I see one pelican in a huge marshy pool when I see dozens like sheep huddled against a reedy bank when I see scores more freely swimming in a blue expanse How do they know their place in this small Universe called the baylands? Why are they in disparate places and configurations?
The conductor lifts his baton, and the ballet begins—formations of winged dancers gracing the celestial stage—one banks right to join the flock—each delicately lifting its webbed dancing shoes before gliding to a graceful stop in the only place it could be in that moment Not a foot to left nor to right. Just there. Next to this pelican. Not that one.
None complains that the wind blows incessantly in its face. It serves as a pedestal in the sky, an invisible perch where they hang in anticipation, then turn as one, wings molding to the elements—another dozen skid home.
Three minutes of bird watching, and so many lessons!
May you stop and watch the pelicans on a stinky afternoon in the marsh.
May you always be fascinated and inspired by God’s creatures—may they remind you of our fragile and powerful place in the cosmos.
May you know when to be alone, when to fly with others; and may you face life’s headwinds with grace, maneuvering skillfully to your own place, landing delicately on both feet.