|Great Blue Heron Watercolor © 2011 Sally Wickham|
“Awesome bird,” my twelve year old son Erik says.
Looking out the same window ,I spot the bird standing on long stilt-like legs by the edge of our pond. “Great Blue Heron,” I tell him. We watch while the solitary bird stands motionless for so long that he almost becomes invisible.
“What’s he waiting for?” Erik wants to know.
“Food,” I answer. “They eat fish, frogs, salamanders, even mice unlucky enough to come within striking range. They spear their prey and they seldom miss.”
“Cool” he says.
Encouraged by his interest, I continue. “I read somewhere that a heron once pierced a pine canoe paddle with its beak.”
“Way cool,” he responds.
Today , the bird is standing on the end of the dock, too high to reach the water. “Looks like this one is just hanging out,” I add.
The heron’s long S-shaped neck is tucked close to his shoulders in a casual slouch. Seeing him reminds me of the guys who used to hang out in front of the Woolworth Store in the late fifties/early sixties. We called them hoods, aka greasers. They too would stand for hours; hair slicked back, cigarette chucked in their mouths, hands stuffed in pockets while their sun-glassed eyes watched the girls and the traffic pass by. No matter what the weather, they always wore their black leather jackets with the collars turned up.
Erik and I continue to stare mesmerized by the sight of this big bird. Posed against two lawn chairs on the dock, his image turns comical in my mind’s eye--more Larson-creation than real bird.
But then, startled by something, he spreads his magnificent wings and lifts off in flight, transformed from cartoon character into superhero --the picture of grace, strength and beauty.
Birdwords by Linda Lunna © 2011