Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I love pelicans about as much as I love anything...well, probably there are a couple of dozen people I love more and oysters on the half-shell and a good Pino Grigio and dogs...most of them, but not the little ones people carry in a bag and who seem so unhappy. But pelicans are up there in my hierarchy of things I love.

Oak Island is one of the most prolific breeding grounds of Brown Pelicans on the face of the earth. There are literally hundreds of them there--flying down the beach, diving into the water, floating like ducks on the ocean. I spend a lot of time on Oak Island watching the pelicans do all that. I really love them. And I spend a lot of time on Oak Island telling the people in the house with me about my insights and speculations and imaginings about pelicans.

I happened to say out loud that I'd like to be a pelican for a day. My wife waited the kind of interval you always wait at the beach just because everything slows down there before saying, 'no, you wouldn't like that....' After about 4 minutes, the normal time for a response when you are facing south on the Atlantic, hardly thinking and drinking a little Pino Grigio and watching another couple of dozen pelicans glide down the beach, I responded, 'you're probably right....' I've sometimes thought I'd like to be my dog for a day, but I know for certain I wouldn't want to be one of our cats for a day, or even a minute. I could, I imagine, extricate myself from my dog's mind with little trouble. Dogs are not deep or profound. But being in a cat would seduce me to stay there because they are so inscrutable and complex.

Another time, when I was waxing eloquent about pelicans--how graceful and also clumsy they are and how much I love them--my friend John said, in a random thought, "they don't know how much you love them...."

Astonishingly, I realized how true--like TRUE--that was. And, since I am given to pondering stuff, I pondered it for a while. Does anyone, any creature--besides your dog, who certainly understands--really KNOW how much you love them?

While we were away, my wife, Bern, and I celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary. I sometimes ponder how much of that time we have truely 'been married'. That's a lot of years and stuff happens and the bond is, from time to time broken. I estimate that we have been 'truly married' for about 30 of those 39 years, give or take a year. But that's a hell of a long time to be loving someone. And I wonder if she really KNOWS how deeply and wonderously I love her.

Probably not.

We are all pelicans gliding down the beach, not aware of how deeply and profoundly we are loved.

You are welcomed to ponder that about yourself and God's love. I invite you to do that. And I would write about it except I am still, in my mind, sitting on that wondrous deck, watching pelicans that I adore and knowing they don't know. I'll leave the God's love thing for you to consider.

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.