Pelicans have made a comeback to the Gulf Coast in ways I would never have expected. I knew that since DDT was banned, they have gradually been able to increase in number and grace the skies over Northwest Florida and neighboring states with their presence. Do you think it was to celebrate this victory over decimation that made enthusiastic citizens in Pensacola initiate "dropping" a large sculpture of a pelican on New Year's Eve? I am not sure, but I was hoping to witness and capture the scene myself. Unfortunately, Hubby and I missed the event (he is still recovering from a whopper of a cold), but daughter was able to attend with a friend. She forgot to take her camera, so I have had to rely on another blogger's perspective. Mobile, Alabama, a nearby city on the Gulf Coast, held its own unusual celebration with a Moon Pie drop. You have to hand it to the good people of this region (sometimes known as the Redneck Riviera but what I prefer to call the Poor Man's Riviera). They know how to have a good time in great style.
Though things like pelicans and moon pies are instantly recognizable and maybe worthy of celebration, lumps of "something" on the beach known for its pristine sugar sand are cause for pause. These objects on the shoreline near the Fort Pickens barricade (site closed since Hurricane Ivan) resemble rocks, but closer inspection of smaller, similar pieces revealed a wood-like texture. It might be debris that has finally washed ashore after a long time soaking in the sea. From an ancient shipwreck, perhaps?
The colors of the Gulf change from moment to moment, from silver here...
...to almost aquamarine here on the west side of the Pensacola Beach pier...
...to sapphire blue here on the east side of the pier. I think the change in color comes from a change in perspective. The angle at which light bounces back from the sea's surface to my eye and the lens of the camera makes all the difference. Of course, the two views from the pier were at a much greater angle from the surface than the view at beach level. And the angle of the sun's light hitting the water changes the color even more. I took the picture on the beach about two hours after visiting the pier on Tuesday.
A Psalm of Life
Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!--
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each tomorrow
Find us farther than today.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled dreams, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!
Trust no future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,--act in the living present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.
--poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow--