Blue Heron Musings

I saw a blue heron standing in a springs this morning. The bird was so close to me I could see the coloring of its eyeballs. It occurred to me that in all my hundreds of blue heron encounters, this was the most intimate.

There he was, down to my right, as I crossed a little wooden footbridge over the springs. I was walking the neighbor’s mutt on a cold morning and thinking about decidedly non blue heron things. And there it was. I stopped on the bridge and the dog heeled. Ducks flitted around the heron. It didn’t move. It didn’t look at me. It looked up to the sky.

And I watched in silence for three or four minutes, I recounted the memorable blue herons in my life and what they represent to me in reality and metaphor.

I once explored the idea of blue herons in my life in great detail via a writing workshop called Birds as Metaphors that I taught 15 years ago.

There’s nothing like teaching yourself something important in your own workshop and that used to happen all the time when I taught them. It might again if I ever teach one again.

I remember writing on blue herons and how they were such a solitary creature in the wild. Always alone hunting in the mud flats or fields. Sometimes perched in the branches of conifers. That was me, I wrote, their perpetual solitude was mine. I embraced it. It was my nature. Perhaps even my writing life was like their ungainly flight. Certainly it wasn’t like a bald eagle’s or a gull’s. It didn’t soar. It undulated.

Standing on the bridge watching the heron brought this personal metaphor back to me. But it doesn’t work for me anymore. Personal metaphors change over the years, I would think. I would consider that necessary for personal growth, assuming one wants to grow.

It was clear that the heron wasn’t going to lift off. It was time for me to leave and let some other walker encounter the marvelous sight. That is, if they bothered to look down to the springs.