A Glorious Morning

Dawn Patrol Pelicans

From my vantage point God has made me a quirky sort, and as per the proverbial expression that He clearly has a sense of humor, must find whimsical pleasure in the sort of things that float my boat. This morning my pump was primed when I ambled upstairs, sleepy-headed, and gazed out at the Pacific, with the 3/4 moon high in the western firmament and that before-sunrise sky and sea color that you local early risers know we can experience on clear dawns this time of year. A bluish sky high up, turning to a wonderful pinkish magenta farther down, all of which is reflected in the glassy early sea surface. My dad, a painter, used to remark about the bizarre color pigments he needed to capture the light of various scenes delivered from his palette to the canvas. Nowadays, I very much can say “Amen” to that. This morning I called Cathy’s attention to the color in a “quick, hurry, come look” exhortation in keeping with the little kid within me. Then our canine Sancho Panza chum Sawyer drug himself off our bed downstairs and came up to enquire if it wasn’t time for him to take me for my morning walk?

Finishing up our stroll on the cliff trail, wandering back, I was relishing the beauty of pristinely formed waves, the tops of which looked like they’d been cleaved with a straight edge and Exacto blade, feathering spindrift blowing off the pitching lips in the offshore wind, tiny barrels of aquamarine as glistening punctuation marks to swells having come across the sea from thousands of miles away. And there on the reef break where we often surf, a lone pelican afloat, sitting in the water right where the usual surfer lineup spot is. This morning’s small two-foot size had not tempted any humans out, but there Señor Pelican was, probably digesting a just-swallowed fish caught from their typical near vertical plunge into the water. Materializing from the west a one-wave larger “set” A-frame peak rose up. I thought surely it would pitch over and pummel him. But no—he waited, and at the last second as the pitching swell went critical, he launched, a single push of his webbed feet and effortless extension of his wings, and he was airborne, deep in the peak and gliding effortlessly along the the updraft being forced up the wave face by physics. Ridge soaring in the oceanic way so marvelously accomplished by the lowly pelican, a creature only a mother could love on the ground, and a thing of forever beauty in the air. Surfers and glider pilots of the world, eat your hearts out. This guy clearly planned and pulled off his no-stroke takeoff, no doubt hooting with stoke at the pure fun of it.

Now, isn’t this a wonderful way to start your day? Forget the shopping malls, and the workaday challenges. This is where the glory is. And I bet my maker is upstairs, twinkle in his eye at having made me to see and share this sort of thing. Lucky us.

Shalom, Tom

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