BAJA, Mexico

OfPelicansandPelapasopened aOfPelicansandPelapasworn

Of Pelicans and Palapas (worn).

Of Pelicans and Palapas (open). 1999.

From an ocean kayak near the Tropic of Cancer, Baja, Mexico, we watch a legion of brown pelicans. Wings folded tightly to their bodies, they plummet into the surf one after another in rapid succession. Pouches suspended from the lower part of their beaks scoop seventeen pints of an aquatic alphabet . . . vatan, paahu, voda, vand, akvo, eau, agua.


If Pelecanus occidentalis were part of the contemporary constellation lexicon, this web-footed flier would take its place in the watery quadrant of the night sky and be poised near the two fish in Pisces, waiting eternally for a meal.

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