I saw a photograph of a pelican today and thought about how long it's been since I've seen one other than in a picture.  Probably several years since I don't spend much time by the sea these days.  Small groups of gulls find their way up into the parking lots of our foothills from time to time. Blown this far inland by storms I suppose.  But no pelicans.

All that big scoopy beak and awkward-looking elbowed wings show ready evidence of their thirty million years on this planet as far as I'm concerned.  To watch a group of pelicans is to behold a marvel. I consider myself fortunate to have done so.  I will gladly count the pelican among the wonders I have seen in my life.

A large group of small children were murdered today in Connecticut   I'm hoping tonight that at some point in their short sweet lives they had an opportunity to see this ancient creature flying above them while digging small toes into warm sand.  Tonight I'm hoping their own brief lives included chasing foam and water by the great edge of the ocean.  Tonight I'm hoping their parent's memories of them will include a perfect day on the beach.

I'm not sure if their parents will ever again have the pleasure of the sea in quite the same way. I don't know what it would do to their heart, other than break it again and again, to watch another small child run in and out of the waves. I do know it will be awhile before the possibility itself can even exist.

 I'm not sure if a pelican will ever again hold the same sense of wonder for these parents as it can for me. I can hope it will. Both for them and for any of the little sisters and brothers these children leave behind.

But it will never be the same.  It never is.