Transforming the conversation on aging.

The Pelicans.


I sit in an upholstered chair bequeathed to us residents on the tenth floor of the Ocean House where I live. I watch them. The Pelicans. Their black slim bodies and blacker wide spread wings drift through the iridescent afterglow of the sunset. It back lights them in blue, red-orange, gray-green, yellow, gold. They hover in the twilight sky. They are waiting for something.


The Pelicans.

They fly past my window, their regal wings parting the pink and gray clouds like a vain young girl parting her unruly hair for the prom. So someone, anyone will notice her.

And get his scrubbed fingernails (scrubbed for the prom) tangled in the scrubbed clean girl’s hair. Waiting and waiting.


The Pelicans.

They are so close I could yank the floppy intrusive blinds up into the ceiling, push the window open, reach out and touch them.. They turn their heads to see me with their beady sightless eyes while they wait.


The Pelicans.

No. I would do more than touch them. I would stroke their poor misshapen legs and heads. The beaks long and skinny, like the young girl’s legs and arms. No luscious grace and sexy round around round shapeliness yet. Maybe next year.


The Pelicans.

Swooping and diving now. Every which way. I count them. There are six, no seven. Where are they going? What are they waiting for?

Flying now in a pattern. Almost like man-made. But when could man ever make anything so perfect. Two absolutely identical graceful wings, coming together in a point…three Pelicans on each wing, one in the point.


The Pelicans.

It looks like the sky is trying to rain. In California? In November? Unlikely. The cloud pictures that surround the Pelicans are suddenly of young boys and girls. They are round, curving legs and arms, bouncy breasts blooming amongst the dark hairy arms and hands of the young nervous boys skipping across the sky. They are eating each other’s mouths. Both are eating each other’s faces. The Pelicans pause to watch. Didn’t they have any supper?


The Pelicans.

They are lined up, looking down. What are they looking for? Suddenly I remember. The full moon was last night. The grunion ran last night. Hundreds of little silver fish. The females first, depositing their eggs in the sand on the highest wave of the highest tide. The males on the next high wave depositing their sperm in the eggs. Then all scrambling madly back into the full moon moonlit sea. All that is, except for the slowpokes. They lie stunned and stranded in the shallow water waiting for another high, high tide. To carry them out to sea. It never comes.


The Pelicans.

Suddenly the Pelicans dive, in perfect formation, their skinny bodies stretched and taut like a broken fingernail, broken from being chewed too much. Wheeling crazily they scrunch their wings together like discarded cloaks on bent and broken wire coat hangers so they won’t break in half when they hit the water. At that exact moment the Pelicans open their beaks. Then snap, splat, smash, they dive into the grunion filled sea.


A blubbering mass of feathers surrounds the empty spot where each one dove. All is quiet for a moment. Then the Pelicans surface, grunion-stuffed beaks dripping water and half-chewed little fish, shake themselves grandly, and fly lazily off.

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