Curious about several of this year’s Academy Award nominees, last evening I watched Triangle of Sadness, touted as a comedy and nominated also for a Palme d’Or. Despite high hopes I found it boring, uninspired, unaesthetic. I took several breaks, but stuck it out, trooper that I am. The predictable irony of the ‘toilet maid’ becoming the ‘captain’ thanks to her survival skills once a small group of ultra-privileged and their minions find themselves stranded on a tropical island, helpless even before cellphone batteries die, wasn’t enough to rescue it. And, has there been a dumber ‘cliff-hanger’ ending? Might as well have had a sea monster rise from the sea and devour them all.
This morning, I spent three hours on the beach, departing when the shade disappeared. Never a dull moment there! Visual and aural stimulation vying non-stop for attention, and so many things to wonder: What delicacy was that crow-like bird picking at, undaunted as I approached? Where do those huge trees originate, roots and all, bleached clean by the ocean and lying higgledy-piggledy on the beach? What kind of trees are they? Why do pelicans enjoy circling and then belly-flopping into the water?
It was high tide and windy, so many whitecaps. Gusts blew their edges skyward; the dispersed droplets twinkled in the early morning light. There must be a reef near the horizon because there something launches the white foam heavenward. As waves fold into whitecaps they race—sometimes in one direction, sometimes in both—occasionally colliding with kindred bars of whitecap barreling towards them.
Then came the pelicans. I recognize some after near regular wintertime visits the past few years. Lone Pelican (see 4 April 2022 post “The Lone Pelican”) amused itself flying what appeared to be inches above the water, then catching an updraft and circling without wing-flapping for a bit before diving for a belly flop onto a between-waves spot. No fishing/dining, just plain pelican fun. After a minute or two, wings flapped, propelling Lone Pelican upward, and the procedure repeated. Sometimes, it headed southward, hugging the water surface. That’s the direction pelicans fly when they don’t return immediately, so I assume there’s some sort of pelican community down there.
The pelican pair came, too. They’ve choreographed such a poetic pas de deux after years as a couple, frequently flying in close proximity, climbing, circling, and interlacing their flight paths with the dizzying skill of tactical formation pilots. SO much more interesting than watching dirty water billow from a stateroom toilet and gush down hallways and stairs on a fancy yacht (Triangle of Sadness – somehow potty humor is always in fashion. And what a subtle metaphor!). The larger group of sevenish pelicans—business-like flyers that maintain a disciplined, equidistant line as they fly purposefully to and fro, north and south, sometimes close to the water surface, sometimes arcing into the air as if riding an airwave—also appeared.
If I stroll down to the shoreline, there’s an entirely new palette of fascinating phenomena. I try to guess which waves will reach furthest, and then watch as they recede from their foam-rimmed edges, sometimes intersecting in interesting ways as they return to the sea in a calm, carefree manner so different from the urgency with which they arrived. Some leave a screen of tiny bubbles that rapidly dissipate. And I haven’t even gotten to the assorted sounds the wind makes as it agitates the leaves of different tree species nor the avian varieties (many hummingbirds types) vying for my attention. For those with long attention spans as well as for those with Attention Deficit Disorder, the beach offers experiences both exhilarating and meditative. Nature is, and has always been, all the entertainment I require!