Angle to Key West: Flamingo Rescue (8/30)


Beach near Superior, WI – August 30, 2012

I saw a blur of pink against the shoreline’s brown sand and stared, not believing my eyes. A flamingo perched high on a pile of driftwood. It looked badly injured, the color drained from its feathers, its beak cracked, a gash ripped out of its back. I turned the boat and raced toward shore. It wasn’t just another bird, it was a flamingo, a Floridian like me, born in the tropics and lost in a northern land.

“I’m not leaving you,” I thought. “Not out here, not with winter coming.”

A wave crashed over the cockpit as I jumped out. It swamped the boat and almost sent me tumbling into the surf, but I was too focused to care. The bird looked on the brink of death. It didn’t move as I picked it up and held it in my hands. I stared at it, worried it would fall apart between my fingers as I brushed away the dirt.

“What happened,” I thought. “Where did you come from?”

Were you blown here form some tropical beach? Did you get disoriented in a storm and turn north? Did you escape from smugglers near the Canadian border? Is there an 60s Airstream camper parked on a Florida beach with an empty spot in its yard?

It looked back at me, its eyes cold, almost lifeless, and said nothing. I placed it gently on the front of my boat and took off again hoping it wouldn’t fall as I paddled into the waves.

“I’ll take you as far as a trash can in Duluth,” I said. “After that, you’re on your own.”

I looked at the bird’s pink feathers, bright against the Looksha’s yellow hull.

“No, just Duluth,” I said. “And I don’t care if your name is Frank.”

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5 thoughts on “Angle to Key West: Flamingo Rescue (8/30)

  1. Frank wants to make it to Key West for New Year’s! Frank is singing that good ol Phil Collins song….take me home! Frank doesn’t remember!

  2. Still laughing. I have heard from others that Frank had a personality disorder,commonly referred to bi-polar flamingo-duck and that he thought he as an off-color mallard and wanted to spend the summer in the Great Lakes. I am pulling for Frank that he can recover as a recycled Canada Goose decoy.

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