American White
Pelican 3

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This photo was taken on a bayside dock near our home. I am a secular humanist, but throughout my life, I’ve had some serious conversations with my soul. In recent years, birds have helped me do this. My soul and I agree. We are not inherently evil or good, but we humans do have a responsibility to strive for ethical behavior in “This Life” of our existence. Hermann Hesse had much to say about conversations with his own soul. I think his poem “Sometimes” is a good example of this. In German, the poem rhymes. There are several English translations. I like this non-rhyming one the best. “Sometimes” – Hermann Hesse:

Sometimes, when a bird cries out,
Or the wind sweeps through a tree,
Or a dog howls in a far off farm,
I hold still and listen a long time.

My soul turns and goes back to the place
Where, a thousand forgotten years ago,
The bird and the blowing wind
Were like me, and were my brothers.

My soul turns into a tree,
And an animal, and a cloud bank.
Then changed and odd it comes home
And asks me questions. What should I reply?

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