Twenty-four hours ago I woke with the sun by the sea, rested and at peace with the world. I spent a few hours sitting at the ocean’s sandy altar beside my beloved sister-in-law, who’s like my own flesh and blood, speaking of the past, present, and future. Remembering loved ones lost. Cherishing new little ones, our children’s’ children. Hardly any other people were out and about; the beach seemed to be our own for these few sacred hours.
“Look! Dolphins!” my sister-in-law pointed. Out in the glimmering, watery distance, a distinctive leap…dolphins, navigators of the deep, ancient symbols of protection.
Just above the surface, gliding with astounding grace despite their unwieldy appearance, brown pelicans. Flocks of them. More than I’ve ever seen at one time before. Breaking their flight with dives and a mighty splash of white spray, catching fish and bobbing for a while in the waves.
Pelicans, a symbol for resourcefulness. And sacrifice. Legend has it that mother pelicans sacrifice themselves for their young, if need be. They wound themselves to feed their children with their own blood. They are social birds which hunt cooperatively—representing teamwork. Community.
Twenty-four hours ago, I sat breathing the same salt air as the pelicans, stood in the same sparkling waters as the dolphins.
Today I pack my bags, load my car, and return to school, masked. COVID rages on. Many unknowables lie ahead.
Yet I remain at peace. Diving, leaping, or gliding, I shall navigate as called for in the ebb and flow of moments. Children await, life awaits, time does not. The ocean remains. A reminder of constancy, of strength.
Here’s to the mighty plunge.
Low-flying pelicans. Tony Alter. CC-BY
with thanks to Two Writing Teachers…strength and protection to all in this uplifting community of teacher-writers, seasoned navigators of life and story-sharing.