Wings stretched as far as they can go, and maybe a bit farther, the birds lower their flaps. Teetering in the wind, they come in for the landing.

Seagull with wings spread and feet splayed, just above the water.

Five trumpeter swans coming in for a landing.

Pelican in landing pattern.

And they’re down, in a sploosh of feet, feathers, and spray.

Three trumpeter swans hitting the water.

Pelican hitting the water.

Once down, they recover their balance and their dignity quickly. Move along: There’s nothing to see here.

Seagull in regal unconcern, floating on the ocean.

Three pelicans floating calmly on river.

Birds as different as seagulls and swans and pelicans have this in common: When completely up or completely down, they look regally unconcerned. It’s only in the transition states that they look like they’re making any effort at all. It’s only then that they look even remotely awkward.

Maybe that’s true for me, too. If I feel as if my arms are stretched to the limit, and maybe a bit father, trying to keep from teetering, maybe it’s because I’m just about to touch down, completing some transition. Not, you know, because I’m awkward by nature.

Note to self: Move along; there’s nothing to see here.



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8 Responses to Transitions

  1. Tom Watson says:

    You have not seen me do a water landing. It’s all splash, no grace!

  2. Jim Taylor says:

    Levity aside, I think you’re made an important point here. It’s in the transitions that we are awkward. That doesn’t mean we’re wrong. Birds need to come down; humans need to move along. Perhaps from single life to married life; perhaps from full employment to retirement; perhaps from good health to not so good… Whatever it is, it takes a certain amount of time — and a certain amount of embarrassment — before things settle down again.
    Jim T

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim T – Yes. And we could take a lesson from the birds, who don’t look embarrassed at all. They just do that frantic bit, and then pretend it never happened.

  3. Judith Umbach says:

    A thought to live by. Thanks for sharing it with use.

  4. Lorna says:

    Thanks Isabel… a very helpful observation.

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