Picture me driving slowly along the coast, approaching a bridge over a bayou, and then a pelican swoops from the left out of the bayou right toward the bay, so close to my windshield that I could see its eye. Magical! Just the evening before, I had spent about an hour in my studio looking at images and thinking about pelicans and how they could become a part of my Southern Wild Art series. My sketch depicted a pelican flying left to right across a stormy sky. When I arrived home after the encounter, I erased this sketch and replaced it with a close-up of a pelican waiting for the storm to pass.
Symbolically, pelicans have long been associated with religion, myth, and culture. Pelicans represent death and the journey to the afterlife in Ancient Egypt, based on their reputation as skilled travelers. As a totem, pelicans represent confidence, calmness, and abundance when witnessed with a full bill. In Christianity, they represent caring and self-sacrifice often depicted by a mother pelican wounding her own breast to provide nourishing blood to her young.
As I wrote this blog post, I was contacted by telephone by a blood donation organization regarding a drive for my particular blood type. Lucky timing??