Sunny and blue overhead, but clouds gathering in the west, a storm moving in. Yesterday the sky was like a blue bowl. I saw a jet move across it high above, two lengthening white streamers in its wake and a pair of white pelicans crossing the jet trail at a stately pace. Diving for fish, pelicans look clumsy and comical; they land on the water with a great splash, not like ducks or cormorants that seem to slide in naturally. But in the sky, pelicans are majestic, kings of their realm. White pelicans winter on San Francisco Bay, and sometimes you can see scores of them in the wetlands, resting up for the trip inland for spring breeding.
A wonderful bird is a pelican,
His bill will hold more than his belican.
He can take in his beak
Food enough for a week;
But I’m damned if I see how the helican.
—“The Pelican” (1910) by Dixon Lanier Merritt, often misattributed to Ogden Nash
Needing a little comedy today, as I’m really hobbling. The doc told me to halve the dose of the anti-inflammatory after a week, and today I’m feeling worse than before I started it and wondering if there’s a rebound effect. Yesterday I tried upping the pain med and spent the day feeling nauseous, spacey, and completely wiped out, nodding over my book and dozing the day away. God, I HATE dealing with new meds! There’s always some drawback you weren’t expecting.
All morning I’ve been trying to decide whether to apply for a handicapped placard. It would be the sensible thing to do–some days, like today, I can hardly walk across the street–but it requires yet another identity shift: disabled. I’ve already done alcoholic, diabetic, depressive, and old. Do I really have to add another? Next it’ll be frail elderly. I am not frail! And I’m not disabled, like a ticking time bomb someone made inoperative. I am able in all sorts of ways, I just can’t walk very well right now. Somehow, applying for the placard would change ‘right now’ to ‘ever again,’ and I’m not ready to accept that yet.
Resilience, that’s what we senior elderly failing frailing old people need. Resilience, from the Latin, ‘to spring back, rebound.’ Picture the rubber band vigorously snapping back, not all stretched out and flabby. The spirit is willing…please, let the flesh not be weak.