The Pelican Brief

Yeah, I just stole the title from a great John Grisham novel. I’ll take my chances. If John Grisham reads this post, he can call me and I’ll make it right. But anyway, I want to talk about real pelicans.

We were on the beach last week, maintaining our social distancing, of course. Of course, I’ve been social distancing for years, even before it became cool. But again, back to the pelicans.

Any time I’m at the beach, I’ve always noticed the pelicans. Weird birds. They almost look like they shouldn’t be able to even fly, at least aerodynamically when they are just perched. Big head and bill up front, stubby body, pretty good wingspan, but nothing impressive.

As usual, Nature fools us. The pelicans almost remind me of an airshow. They soar overhead in groups, wings spread, aligned in echelons. Then they gently turn and glide effortlessly just above the surf line and wave breaks. Graceful, remarkably maintaining just the right height and spacing from their wingman, all while scanning the water for that flash of silver that signals food.

Then the show starts. They pull up abruptly, do a perfect 180 hammerhead stall maneuver, their wings slide back into a raptor like retraction and then…..WHAM….SPLASH….then the pelican sits on the water with an attitude like…”What?” “So?” “Fish..good”

Pelicans are a great representation of our lives sometimes. We can be plotting along, gliding gracefully, looking calm, demeanor on point. But then, to get the prize, to get the goal…we may just have to pull up and plunge head first into the surf.

Like our pelican friends, what will our attitude project when we bob back to the surface? We will have made it look graceful and effortless, but with no doubt that we mean business?

Hmmm, perhaps life really IS a beach, huh?

Semper Fortis

Chief Chuck