The Pelican Story

The article is titled, “Help for Big Bird”

“Two Canadian officers proved man can give nature a hand – if not a pelican a wing – in Montana last October.

The story began in the spring when a flock of migrating white pelicans stopped for rest and food on the northern stretches of the Missouri River.

During their stay someone shot away half the left wing of one of the beautiful and majestic birds, which was then unable to continue its flight north.  The bird’s mate stayed with him for awhile after the rest of the flock had gone, and then she too flew northwards.

The injured bird apparently stayed calm during and after the ordeal of the shooting, and made himself a home on a small island in the middle of the river.  There he was protected from weather, able to find food in the surrounding water and to survive the summer in good health.

In the fall the pelican flock returned to the area on its migration south and found the invalid swimming in the river and flapping his one good wing as though attempting flight.  Once again the flock stayed for a few days and then left the injured one behind.

At this point a workman for the Burlington Northern Railroad who was aware of the pelican’s plight wrote to the local newspaper.  He told the story of the bird and expressed fear that the pelican would die in the severe winter weather of northern Montana.

Capt. J. M, a Canadian assigned to the 24th NORAD Region in Great Falls, Montana, read about the bird and decided to help it.

A few days later he and Capt. J. M, also a memeber of the Canadian Forces, entered the river in a canoe in an attempt to capture the pelican.  But they soon found that the bird’s broken wing didn’t hinder its swimming ability.  The men were unable to catch the pelican as it swam upstream through strong currents as though taunting them to ” Catch me if you can!”

Weary from the pursuit, but not disheartened, the two Canadians went back to the river the next day, but with a small motorboat.  This time they succeeded in capturing the bird after each had taken a few bruises and scratches from its powerful beak.

They then took the pelican to Great Falls and kept it overnight in a pool behind ______’s house.  The officers also tried to feed it trout, shrimp and smelt, but without success.

Next day the Montana Fish and Game Department were informed of the pelican’s capture and officials took the bird to the State Game Farm in Warm Springs and placed it in a sanctuary for injured wild fowl.

There the big bird provides enjoyment for visitors and lives a protected life because of two men who were concerned enough to act.”

Pelican 1

Warm Rich Earth

It is one in the afternoon and I need to stop and write because it has been a most beautiful and reflective day.  To begin with, I started the day off with writing.  I sipped my coffee here at the computer desk and opened up my pages of notes printed off long ago….pages that I think might one day comprise my first novel. 
I opened up a new word document and my fingers flew on the keyboard, as though there is a story that wants to be told.  I am always surprised by the intensity of the experience of writing because while writing, time travels quickly and the coffee cup is empty at my next sip and I don’t remember when it was that I actually emptied it out.
When I write I will often take wee breaks and walk over to the bookshelf and read snippets from the books that I love.  I have more than one copy of The Bridges of Madison County by Waller.  It’s as though I am compelled to pick them up in second hand book stores when I see them.  It’s as though they are too precious to be picked up by fairweather friends and I must save them from potential disregard.  So…this morning I picked up the copy that holds an inscription….likely a note from one friend to another.  When I purchased it, I also found three small pieces of note paper inside its pages, all written in the same script…memories of its author about a special time shared between friends.  These are on my fridge where I can see them each day and be reminded of the preciousness of friendship.
The inscription reads:
To Tuke
   To have lived and
loved and enjoyed…
to look back without
regrets; to look ahead
in eager anticipation…
then you have lived!
These words resonate with each of us; I am certain of it.
I wrote for quite some time after my morning walk in the river-valley with my dog.  I then headed to a gardening center and took the time to enjoy looking at thyme (pun) and young perennials of every variety.  I wrote quick notes to a friend and my Mom and Dad and shared a lovely conversation with my mother.  I picked up a beautiful book for a cheap price in a Winners store….Wise Women: A Celebration of Their Insights, Courage, and Beauty by Joyce Tenneson.  I’ve treasured, for years another book by her titled Illuminations.
I enjoyed a blessing-conversation with a long distance friend and another with his daughter….rich, warm, heartfelt.  And I received a beautiful and spontaneous phone call from my second child.  She had made her first siting of the season of a hot-air balloon and she just wanted to let me know.  As a two-year old she would look out the window of our vehicle as we drove anywhere, staring intently at the blue sky.  She could spot a hot-air balloon from a huge distance and inevitably we would chase these sitings down and time and time again watch the people in the baskets wave as they passed overhead or we would stand in fields and wait patiently for their landings.  After twenty years, she carries the very same childlike wonder about such a thing.  She giggled into the telephone, "And it’s my favourite kind!  It’s a rainbow balloon!"
The day has been one filled with smiles and magic.
Now….out to the warm rich soil, to turn in mulch for the season’s new growth!



As I viewed Bev Tosh’s war brides and Joane Cardinal Schubert’s parfleche and Gramma’s dress….I was thinking about the simplicity of this body of work that I’m working on.  As an artist, anything is valid really.  This entire body of work stems from my reconnection with pelicans at our weir.  Every summer, in July especially, the white pelicans come to feed on our Bow River.  Great numbers of them sit on the dark river, like beautiful white boats and they feed at the weir in long lines, meticulously watching the water for the fish.


The first time I saw them, I cried.  It was strange that I reacted on such an emotional level.  I asked myself why?  And then I remembered the pelican that my father had helped save from an eventual demise.  It was a one-winged pelican that was left behind when all others had left for their migration in the late summer. As a child, these sorts of experiences are amplified in their importance and I saw my father as a hero.  I will post the story here for all to read and when I can find my battery charger, I will post pictures of the studio work in progress.



I have no idea what ‘gremlin’ snuck in during the night and removed all of the Youtube flicks that I had embedded here….but it happened!   And…I believe I’ve been earmarked as a candidate for furthur complications because I can only access Youtube if I’m out of my blog site.  If any of you readers have insights as to ‘where’ I went wrong, please let me know.  This is my take on it.
First of all Windows Live Spaces doesn’t appear to be the ‘king’ of all ‘bloggifiers’ out there (and I hope BIG BROTHER IS reading this)…but, I’m so deeply entrenched in this program….as you will note by my archives, I say, ahhhhh…."what the heck!" My philosophy is to always work from within the institutions I belong to in order to initiate change.  I don’t run away from church, from family and goodness knows, it isn’t my history to run away from responsibility and relationship.  So….I’ve written to Live Spaces….(they may have decided that they couldn’t accomodate my need to embed these videos)…although they do provide the option to EMBED video, with a note….Some HTML tags may be removed from your entry for security and formatting reasons.  So I’m making my inquiry about that.  You will note that my blog is not quite so fancy as the blogs you might enjoy on Blogger and MySpace.  I can’t publish a word cloud here…publish a beautiful phases of the moon chart…and the list goes on.  However, I think I’m here for the long haul.
I know that it IS possible for me to publish the link here so that  you can continue to enjoy my musical choices…one step clicking for you…while I explore this entire thing.  I’m glad that while I’ve been so sick, I’ve had this little inquiry to explore as I’m feeling quite unlike myself in terms of strength and energy.
I’ve registered with Youtube and also read about their requirements of conduct/copyright/sharing and potential for embedding onto blogs, as most clip providers allow for the sharing of their clips.  Now I’m learning about tags and what sorts of options are out there.  I find the Youtube ‘thing’ absolutely phenomenal as you can locate your favourite artists performing in their very early days…pretty special stuff!  If you haven’t viewed much there, I DO recommend that you look up your favourite public speakers….I found some awesome Stephen Lewis stuff there, poets and musicians.  In the meantime, I’m going to continue to explore the practical workings of all of this techno-potential!


Here I am sitting at the computer desk at 3:52 in the morning.  Sigh.  This really isn’t typical, but I woke in the night with such a cough that I had to make myself sit up so that I could settle things down.  If I don’t blog this, then the next opportunity for such as this won’t come around for a long time.  I am NOT one to get sick….perhaps I’ve been exposed to so many bugs over the years and I move so fast that they have a hard time catching up with me.  My children have been ill time and time again, but I have been blessed with good health for a very long time.  I’m grateful for that.

 It’s all manageable and I’m certain that if the weather can settle into a bright spring and I can get out into the garden to work, there will be a turn-around!  In the meantime, I pull the fleece up around my neck and sip my hot cup of tea.  What’s important at the moment is that I don’t re-injure my ribs that have been suffering a wee bit with this incessant hack these past couple of days.

 Now, wasn’t this an inspiring little blog?  So laughing here!  On occasion, I  hop into and drop out of an array of  anonymous (why does the word anonymous just look like it arrived here off a spaceship?  Sometimes words just appear like strangers, don’t they?)personal journals (having shrunk in their popularity because writers the world-over have lost their need/desire or ability to write)…and I see that individuals have gotten into the huge habit of spewing forth some aggressive and angry ‘stuff’ in the blog forum.  And if not that, they seem to have a need to visit again and again themes that are over-the-top ‘personal’ in that they put out for the world their most intimate thoughts.  Now, this little ‘rant’ is not a way of censoring or saying that this ‘stuff’ doesn’t have its place…it’s merely an observation of society and her habits around this technology.  And…this little whine about feeling sick has made me smile because perhaps it most exemplifies the popularity of the ‘blog’. 

With recent news from Blacksburg, Virginia:

It is a profound thing…the human spirit…and what causes such pain? and such outrage? and such suffering?  How does one become so lost? afraid? angry?  It is a difficult time for so many.  It is impossible to grasp full understanding.
Virginia Tech….my prayers go out to you.  Lost boys….children running from place to place in the night in Darfur…my prayers are with you.   Mothers who have lost your own babies…who suffer the pain of that depth of suffering….my prayers are with you.


I shared in a beautiful riverwalk Sunday morning with my pooch…so absolutely lovely!  We followed our usual path, but then diverged and sat on sun-warmed river stones.  A fly fisherman was wading in the river directly across from us….so I watched the swoosh swoosh swoosh cast of his line again and again….and listened to the forever undulating sound of the water as it moved past us.  The smell of the air in a place such as this one is dreamy….that light fishy scent….the wintered dryness of the grass.  All was special….an hour that I felt was meant just for me.
By late afternoon I knew that I was being attacked by a beast of a cold…so today the coughs, snorts and sniffles have settled in.  My dog lies at my feet…a bit of a snore going on…he’s become such an old guy!  My heart melts as I listen to his breathing.  I went out to the studio and did some work late last evening on my pelicans…oh how I’m going to love this little series.  I suppose I should take some photos and post them here.
Tonight my son and I went to train in the dojo…what a workout, given the fact that I’m not ‘batting 100%’ (is that actually a saying?)….so I am ready for a hot bath and my book of the week.  The Poisonwood Bible…an interesting read so far, given its setting in the Congo and the experiences of a missionary family.  I’ll review it when finished by weekend. 


I got up really early this morning.  I had a couple of wonderful days with friends and family in the south and it was time to head home.  My primary reason for heading down was to celebrate my cousin’s birthday and we really DID have all sorts of fun. She is such a precious and generous person!  Amazing!
I picked up a Tim Horton’s coffee, extra-large black, on the outskirts of town and drove north on the highway after saying my good-byes….the morning light was soft and the Oldman River was just a soft expanse in the coulee below. 
There have been so many different times that I have wanted to stop and explore the small towns and old buildings along the way, especially those with grain elevators and this was a perfect opportunity!
There is almost a mystical sense of quiet and beauty at that hour of the day on a quiet highway in good weather.  I relished my little side trips and the peaceful feeling I derived on the mini-adventures.  The time spent circling the grain elevators was particularly special and the pigeon sounds were the only sounds that broke an eerie silence.  The air was cool and the sky filled with constantly changing cloud. 
It was a calming and happy few days I spent with family and friends and I am blessed for having grabbed a bit of a vacation.

Free in my Head!

At three o’clock this afternoon, I completed the marking of a stack of 115 novel studies.  Alleluhia!  Now I can really begin my holiday, given that visions of these papers will not be floating about in my head any longer!  I’ve got some work to do in my studio and I’m very-much looking forward to being free in my head to do that!  I am a person who works on several different projects at one time, and on several different levels, but when I have obligations to fulfill, then I tend to be distracted until they are met.
This means that I am no longer distracted!  Yippee!
The weather here is unseasonably cold…quite a chill as I walked my Laurie-dog out on the circle just now…a combination of rain and snow falling.  The young green babies in the garden seem to be shivering and the bunnies don’t know to be white or brown!  The birds each morning twitter from branch to branch, wondering if in fact, it is time to nest.  The entire world seems confused somehow. 

Flags of Our Fathers

Clint Eastwood’s Flags of our Fathers was the last Easter Day rental.  And after seeing films like Saving Private Ryan of the war flick genre, I’d have to say this one didn’t measure up.  The concept of the film is original, but I just thought that something was lacking.  I would be interested in seeing the ‘Letters’ film that he directed showing the Japanese perspective on the war. 
I’m a lady who is deep into character development and I found the three key players in this film somewhat one dimensional….I didn’t feel for them as perhaps I should have.  Even the attempt at representing racist issues with the one ‘Indian’ character was not as authentic and horrific as it may have been portrayed.  For its historical issues, this is a good one….but for the emotional connection, not quite there. 
Now, out to the studio for me!