I come up to the fence, to take a closer look at the flamingos. They are a pink as saturated as the sunset and have eyes as piercing as the sun itself. I take my camera out, and focus on one flamingo in particular. When the button clicks and the shutter sounds, the flamingo looks at me. Her look transcends the barriers between the two of us, and she speaks;
“ Look at me, what do you see?
Talk to me, what do you hear?
If that is all you see, if that is all you hear, then dig deeper.”
I set my camera aside, in awe of the flamingo’s words. What does she mean – that I must dig deeper? If I see that the flamingo is surrounded by others, that she belongs with them, blends with them, that she plays with them, and laughs with them, I see beauty and I see happiness. I reply to her lines, with words of my own,
“I am digging, to uncover your truth.
But you seem to have it all.
You have love, and you have youth,
And a gorgeous waterfall.”
The flamingo grimaces and asks with disdain,
“Do you think that these are enough?
If you see the ocean from the surface, it has no sign of life.
When you dive into its waters, what do you realize?
The ocean has waves below this surface,
It has fish of all colors and stripes.
There is a point below this surface,
A point that is all dark.
There is no light, do you notice,
Not even a single spark
And there are waves deep below
Waves moving you along
But all of this is not seen, not from the top.”
“But fish are happy and colors beautiful, what more could you want?
Ignore the dark and the waves, and you’ll feel better in your heart.”
The flamingo frowns, disappointed in my response.
“Tell me what you mean, I am human after all.”
“I mean that I am more, more than you can ever convey.
I more than you can see, more than your picture of me,
These pictures that you take,
Are as shallow as the ocean’s view.
I’m not always happy you know.
I have my moments too.
I may feel broken at times,
Happiness stolen by flashes of light,
There is more to me than you can tell, more that I am worth.
But you don’t see past my shell, you don’t see the ocean of this earth
Just know this:
I am not always content.
No matter what your pictures show,
No matter the angle or the lens.
Know that I am layered, that there is more to me.
Know that I have flavors, that I’m sour and I’m sweet.
Know that I’m a wave, I’m high then I am low
that I’m a tornado, I’m fast then I am slow
Know that I am loving, to those I care for most
that I am hateful, to those who wrong me most
that I am happy, but not always so
that I grow sadly but not always so
Know that I am frozen, broken easily,
Know that I’m an ocean, but there is more to me.”