We see hundreds, thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of images every day. With all kinds of technology at our fingertips we are privy to both awesome and dreadful pictures from all over the world – even from Mars and beyond.
But the one image that stands out for me is that of the three-year-old Syrian refugee child washed ashore on a Turkish beach. The pixels that captured the water seemed to jump out as individual tears: tears of the Goddess (Sacred Presence), tears of Mother Earth, tears of every woman mourning over the deaths that keep coming as a result of a world spinning out of control by the forces of human violence. Both the movement of that sea water and the heartbeat of that little boy were frozen in time and now frozen in my mind.
We know that thousands of people are fleeing Syria , Iraq , Burundi , Libya and other parts of the world seeking safe soil, asylum and the winged-hope of more tomorrows. We keep calling them migrants. But a migrant is a person who moves regularly in order to find work or an animal/bird that shifts from one habitat to another especially in seasonal changes.
When I looked at the ocean this past week I cried for the “migrants” journeying on and in the Mediterranean . My tears were tears of sadness. When I saw the images of Syrians debarking a train in Germany into a sea of welcome I cried for joy. When I hear the many reasons my own country is not offering immediate welcome to these particular “migrants” my tears melded with those pixel tears carrying the lifeless child before us. Then, as if from nowhere, a once-endangered Brown Pelican glided just above the waves before me.
Clumsy on land yet graceful in flight, pelicans normally fly low over the water, soaring with occasional flaps of their wings. When there is no wind they take to the air by running over the water, beating the air with their large wings while pounding the surface of the water with both feet. In groups they fly in formation, normally in single file but occasionally in a V-formation, with necks tucked back over their shoulders in an s-shape and their bills resting on their folded necks.
California Brown Pelicans were removed from the Endangered Species List in November, 2009, culminating a century-long effort to save them. Pelicans have a lifespan of 25-30 years if they survive predation, starvation, pollution, entanglement, etc. If we can make changes to help bring back the nearly extinct Brown Pelican I am sure we human beings from distinctively different nations and often contradicting religions and philosophies can still turn swords into plowshares and part the sea to help those seeking freedom and life to be able to walk and settle on dry and stable ground.
As always, I am adding a few more images to the mix, hoping they migrate into your imagination and meditations!