(in response to Writer’s Island prompt #7, The Gift.

Although I love to write, and do it everyday, it’s been difficult to come here of late. I do my journal, but that’s it, and some days even that is hard to accomplish.

I have been experiencing the natural depression that accompanies the grieving process. I define it as natural because it is to be expected when one loses a very pivotal individual from ones life. The lack of energy, loss of focus and interest, are normal as one attempts to get through it. It’s hard to pick up the pieces and just carry on. There’s a really huge sink hole in the place that that individual used to inhabit. And we feel it with all of our senses.

I’ve been trying to force myself to come here, but obviously, it wasn’t happening. Couldn’t focus in on what I wanted to write, let alone begin the actual process of putting words down on blank spaces. But the other day, I had an experience which I knew would be a good place to begin. Yet, I didn’t. I was very much just letting it slide away from me, until this morning.

I went to my email account and found a letter from Writer’s Island. Amazing. And a gift. I needed that extra little push to begin. I used to respond to the prompts there, and was very sad when they suddenly discontinued. But now they are back and just when I needed them. That is gift number one. The rest of this is about the Gift I wanted to share but was close to letting slip away.

It was a Pelican. Yes, the large bird with the big bill made for scooping up edibles from the sea, or any body of water. Pelicans are not regular inhabitants of this area. They are usually found much further south of here. So, while crossing the bridge between the west and east portions of my home city, looking up and seeing the large white bird with black markings on the tips of its wings, I didn’t quite understand what I was seeing.

I do so love synchronicity. As I spotted it, it banked itself to the side and I caught one clear image of its profile, long large beak and all, and although surprised, knew what I was seeing, but not quite believing it. Even mentioned it to the person I was meeting after the encounter. She was a bit skeptical, but also knows of my interest in wildlife of all kinds.

I came home and did some reading in all my books about animal lore and symbolism. But, before I get to that part, I realize that I should mention one of my first reactions. As I stated above, Pelicans use that long trough-like bill to scoop up fish and other delicacies from the water, for the nurture they need to survive. I have been aware that I was losing interest, focus, and energy, and although that alarmed me, I was too depressed to do much else other than acknowledge it and go on being depressed.

Water is the symbol of life, all of life, good, bad, depressed etc. I was making notes of my lack, but not doing much of anything to alter or change it. In other words, I wasn’t using it to nurture myself. If I was a Pelican, I was going through the motions of scooping up what was right there in front of me, but simply letting it slip right back out of my grasp. Not at all nurturing.

So, when I read about the Pelican and its symbolism, I did a lot more than just make a note of it. Pelicans are known for their buoyancy: they ride the water lightly like a schooner. They can dive beneath the surface, grab what they need and float right back up to the surface, almost popping up like a helium filled balloon on a string. They can dive into the deeper shadows of ‘life’, grasp what they need, and come back up to the surface with the nurture that will allow them to survive, to continue.

While I, on the other hand, seemed bound and determined to dive into those deeper complexities and allow them, and the weight they carried, to drag me even further beneath the surface. Not a good outcome. Certainly not the one I would desire and seek.

There is a second element to the symbolism of the Pelican. It is the ability to be unselfish: giving to others what it has, sharing itself and its treasures. By shutting down I wasn’t giving anything to anyone, was instead, simply withdrawing further and further into those deepening shadows. Actually getting lost in them.

After reading the symbolism, I decided to try something. I haven’t been coloring for several months. Reality didn’t allow me that simple pleasure. Had thought about doing it, but just as with the writing, it never got beyond the thought process. Called for far too much effort and energy. But that night, I got out my files, printed up a design and actually completed it. It wasn’t the best I have ever done. It was a bit dark and disturbing because of that, but definitely a reflection of the reality of my changed and altered circumstances.

All the while I was coloring, I kept seeing that image of the Pelican as it banked in front of me, gliding across my field of vision. That night, I also drove across town to pick up my daughter and bring her here for an overnight stay. Told her about the Pelican and what it meant. She was pretty skeptical as well. However, the following day, while taking her home via another bridge, I spotted the Pelican again. Pointed it out to her and she was as amazed as I had been the first time.

And I felt that I was being given a very specific gift by the Universe. A second chance to understand the message I had already been given, underlining it, so that I wouldn’t miss its importance. I am about the business of scooping up what I need to go on with my life. I have finished my third Mandala and am looking forward to another. I have written this blog instead of giving in to the feeling that its just too much to do in this moment. And I am sharing that message with anyone who cares to read here.

What good is a gift if it goes unwrapped and is never used? Have you seen any Pelicans lately?


About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here:
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25 Responses to Gifts

  1. pamela says:

    Elizabeth this is inspirational to anyone who has lost someone they loved or cared for.
    I really loved what I read here simply beautiful!


  2. 1sojournal says:

    Thank you so much for commenting. The Pelican was certainly an inspiration for me. And the prompt was that extra nudge, we sometimes need.



  3. Irene says:

    Thanks for sharing about the Pelican and what it means to be unselfish and buoyant. May you bounce back Elizabeth.


  4. 1sojournal says:

    You are welcome. And I do believe I am bouncing back. Thanks for the comments.



  5. anthonynorth says:

    I’m a great believer in synchronicity, too. When the time is right, we do what we have to do.
    An inspirational post.


    • 1sojournal says:

      Thank you Anthony,

      I wasn’t particularly aiming at inspirational, just my usual working through something with words on paper. And synchronicity plays an integral role in all of that. No matter how old I get, when it happens, I have a tendency to respond with the surprised awe of a child.



  6. Steve says:

    OK keep it short other wise I tend to lose interest.
    NEVER give up and writing is like ya fav food after awhile ya tire but then the urge comes back.


    • 1sojournal says:

      Lol, thank you Steve, I think. I knew I was in deep do-do when several half blank pages appeared in my journal. I am a retired writing instructor and my own words come back to not so softly whisper in my ear: “No matter what, stay on the page.”



  7. Deeptesh says:

    loved it really. Ending is really cool. Also drop by my blog.


  8. Susan B says:

    Good to have you back. Thank you for the pelican.


  9. 1sojournal says:

    Hey there sister,

    glad to be back and the pelican was rather awesome, but then synchronicity is always that and more.



  10. brenda w says:

    This is beautiful personal writing. I love it. Having only found Writer’s Island this go round, it’s nice to meet you. Good for you looking up the symbolism of pelicans. There’s magic afoot, messages everywhere, we only need to look and listen. Keep posting, I want more!


  11. 1sojournal says:

    Hi Brenda, glad to meet you. Writer’s Island is a good place and good community. I have long been interested in animal mythology and symbolism, and agree that there are always messages around us, we but need to be aware. There are more of this type of post on my site concerning intuition and creativity. It you are interested you can find it at

    Thanks for stopping and hope to see you soon,



  12. Mary says:

    Elizabeth, I am so glad that you shared on such a personal level, and I also thank you for commenting in my blog. I do believe that the pelican is a strong symbol for you and was shown to you to help you work with your loss. I am glad you are back again, writing again, buoyant and giving once more.


    • 1sojournal says:

      Hi Mary,

      so glad you enjoyed the essay/story. There are many more similar ones on my other site which is about intuition and creativity. It’s called Intuitive Paths. My writing, both prose and poetry always spring from my own personal experiences. It is what I taught before retiring. Thank you for reading and commenting. Not sure I have recovered complete buoyancy yet, but do know that I’m riding a lot higher in the water than I was even a week ago.



  13. Elizabeth, we seem to be on the same wave in a number of ways. I loved your blog entry, and I loved the gift of the pelican from the universe that you received. If you are interested I wrote a poem about a pelican over nine years ago. If you feel like reading it, go to

    I am very delighted to meet you here on Writers Island!


  14. 1sojournal says:

    Hi Diane,

    am delighted to meet you as well. Writer’s Island is a community of like minded individuals, each one doing their own thing, but held loosely together by the prompts. I’ve enjoyed it in the past, and certainly need it now. I’ll take a look at the poem. I am far more familiar with hawks, eagles, and owls, cardinals, woodpeckers, and an occasional bluejay. The Pelican was new, but then I am beginning a new phase in my journey. I love the idea of buoyancy and the images it creates.



  15. vivinfrance says:

    We haven’t ‘met’ but your story touched me deeply. The gift was to be re-inforced by your receptivity, your willingness to accept what was being held out to you.

    Bad times come in so many ways, and are so hard to rise above, when energy, will and inspiration are missing. Thank you for sharing this message with us.


  16. 1sojournal says:

    Hi Viv,

    there is a gift to be found in honest grief, if only in the release of allowing ones feelings to be expressed. My Mother had a long and full existence, and left many gifts to be found after her passing. She always teased me more than most, but also saved the really hard questions for me as well. Both are gifts I cherish and have learned a great deal from. Somewhere, inside of me, is a little girl who believes that only her Mother could coax a Pelican this far north to cross its path with my own. She is delighted with that knowledge.

    Thank you for stopping, reading, and leaving a comment. We haven’t ‘met’, but I’m sure we will cross paths again,



  17. Dee says:

    I had to look up synchronicity. Evidently I am a believer in it as well – I just didn’t realize it had a name 🙂
    I think we get gifts when we need them the most. They teach us, open our eyes, soften our hearts, and illuminate truths we have been blind to.


  18. 1sojournal says:

    Hi Dee,

    For someone that didn’t know the word, you certainly have a really good defiition of what it means. And I most heartily agree. Thanks for stopping and commenting.



  19. Yes, I do believe in signs, and it certainly seems as if you’ve been given one. Hang in there; hopefully this is the first step you’ll need to helping the depression lift.


  20. 1sojournal says:

    Hi Susan,

    It wasn’t the first step, but it certainly was the one that caught my attention, and the depression continues to lift with each passing day and that very essential recommitment to life and living.

    Thank you so much for stopping to read and comment, it always is a lift up to know that others understand.



  21. Pingback: Summer of Feathered Graces | Intuitive Paths

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