On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me:
I walked to the shore with a black goodwill golf shoe bag embroidered with a Ryan Stiles Benefit Golf Tournament containing my water colors in miniature. I also had a cellophane packet of rice crackers with poppy and sesame seeds that r and even the dog did not approve of. I had a Hornitos Tequila. It was in a real glass with a canned Tecate chaser.
Before I even sat down a cloud of gulls, red beaked sandpipers and one pelican swarmed above me. I was trying too be a little sneaky with my crackers so I called to the united flock – who told you?
The gulls retreated till there was one. The pelicans increased to ten by the time I sat on the sand, leaning against a drifted uprooted tree. First there were the three stooges, dopey looking pelicans with those comical long faces, then there were ten.
They came up surprisingly close, expecting I gathered, to be fed. However they watched me patiently as I prepared my paints, my little cards, my spice jar turned water bottle. They scrutinized the unzipping of the rectangular teal canvas paintbrush bag. They stepped closer and closer with their steel grey three-toed web feet. They showed me their stuff. Flaming orange skin of collapsible expandable lower beaks. Claw-like tooth of upper beak. Impossibly long beaks yet they turned their little heads on their snake-like long necks and preened their wings like any other bird. The tank-like pose; squatting down till legs disappear then telescoping their necks into their wings till there is just a cannon-like beak protruding to divulge the identity of this strangest of creatures.
However strange I thought them, they must have thought me stranger still for they stared at me as if I was some animal in a zoo. They cocked heads and rolled eyes at my explanations of scarcity of comestibles. They studied my paintings. I called out big baby, the only grey head in the group and he returned my gaze and moved himself forward through the crowd as if he knew he’d been singled out. Pa and grampa displayed their flaming reddish orange lower bill and wondered why I didn’t just stop what I was doing and give them something.
I talked to them for two hours and they cocked their heads and rolled their eyes as if they enjoyed the sounds. A Pelican presence was my Pelican present.