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Old King Pelican
The Spectator
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 by Frank Shortt
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As dolphins cavort out near the horizon, playfully nudging each other with their snouts, a few fish of unknown species jump upward for any unwary insect that might be flying overhead. A whale’s spout may also be observed as whale migration is in full swing along the stretch of Pacific water known as Pismo Beach. Old King Pelican does not miss a trick, sitting atop a tree remnant surveying his vast food domain that can be seen as far as his eye is able. For many years he has sat a sentinel on his lofty perch.

Old King Pelican can be seen in early morning, before residents have arisen from their slumbers, trying to glimpse his next repast. He can also be seen late in the afternoon as he tries to fill his large, elastic pouch with all varieties of fish known to be habitues of these waters. He has been king of the pelicans for many years as, it seems, that pelicans allow the older birds to be kings of each domain. These bulky birds are not supplied with weapons of combat.

Suddenly the king spots a possibility! One would think, because of his age, he could not have shot downward at such a rapid descent, but with agility and accuracy, he becomes one with his breakfast as he adds to his bulky cache. Satisfied, he returns to his lofty perch to once again canvass his realm of sight. Fishing boats may be seen speeding westward followed by hordes of sea eagles, sea ducks, and any local specie of lesser birds. The king waits patiently for his next likelihood of filling his bulging sack. He seems too proud to have to follow a fishing boat for scraps if it is possible he might have fresh fish! Such is the way of the elderly. Such is the way of the proud!

The thought may have never entered his brain, but who knows but what he may someday miss his mark because of failing eyesight. This would mean that he could end up on the rocks below becoming a meal for scavengers of the region. He could dive too far beneath the green waves becoming prey to roving sharks that do not make any difference if he is a king or not!

Old King Pelican has never given this thought a passing glance as his only interest is where his next meal is coming from, most likely the waters below him. He does not think of death, only the preservation of life. Nature has already provided all that he needs in the way of food so why should he worry about the day he may lose his crown to another. Then we may observe another Old King Pelican whose only crown is his status of age.