Daily Archives: August 18, 2011

8.18.11 Herons & Other Company I Keep

Another heron from a few months ago

This morning, I tried to write a few pages. The words flailed, poor things. I felt more pity for them than for me. I have been at this project for a few years and have tried to be steady but usually fail at that steadiness.Still, I show up.

I took a break from the voices and the writhing words and walked out on the small back deck. My presence startled from the pond’s edge a magnificent blue heron. He was, indeed, great. His prehistoric wings, as big if not bigger than his nimble body, spread and flapped himself across the pond until he blended in among green brush.

Some indigenous people in some parts of the world would know how to read the appearance of a heron without being selfish or self-centered. Someone might, then, know that the sign of a heron means the pond’s water is fresh and stocked with fish. Or something like that.  Or someone might know, because of knowledge of a heron’s flight patterns, what that appearance forebode for the weather or the seasons. You know, that kind of reading.

Our ancestors have been reading bird patterns for years, you know. Auspicious comes from the combination of avis (as in aviary or as in OJ’s infamous favorite rental car agency) + spicus = reading of the bird.

Me? How do I read it? With a slack jaw and wide eyes and bated breath. Something in a blue heron’s solitary presence has lured me for years. Something in its elegant gawkiness seems recognizable. Its careful, pointed path for hunting and then striking at just the right time, admirable.

The necessity of creative solitude, that is the medicine I draw from the heron. I fear my readings remains selfish.

I turned around, closed the French door, and through my binoculars watched the stick-like bird hone its sights again on the pond edge. Patient and ready to pounce.

I returned to my desk and waited.

What about you? Any signs you read today?  Any medicine? Share with us your day’s three highlights – and let us know where you’re writing from.

See you in the woods,
The Three Highlights Guy

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