Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Hangin' Out

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


  1. I should add here that my then 12 year old son is now 29 years old!!! I know, I can't believe it....

  2. But he's still 12 at heart and uses the word "cool" just as much! ; )

  3. Hey Linda, This site is great. I just read all of the episodes and wished I was in VT. Your copy and Sal's H2o colors are terrific. It's pouring in Kauai so as you can imagine we have plenty of time to check out the internet.


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