Inspired by my visit with the Great Blue Heron in the Punchbowl on Jewel Island. (See Exploring Jewell.)
If I had the legs of a Heron, I’d be on the ground most of the time. The legs I have are trouble enough. They’ve caused many a face plant, side slam, and turtling. The latter describes a backpacker sprawled beneath his load, appendages protruding as if legs from a turtle under a shell. I’m an expert at this one and my favorite example happened during my first hike of the Appalachian Trail. (A two Thousand mile trail running between Springer Mountain, Georgia and Mt. Katahdin, Maine.)
I took a great fall while crossing over a bog. It was on puncheon board, barely wide enough for my boots. As usual, something had caught my attention and I looked without stopping. I tripped and went air-born, hanging momentarily before massively colliding with the board. The impact expelled air from my lungs like that of water when a dive turns into a “belly-smacker.” A few seconds pass before my hiking partner asked if I was okay. I consciously surveyed myself head to toe. I think so. “Can I take your picture?” “No, Get me out of here!” ( In retrospect, I wish a photo had been taken. There I was, turtled on a board. My shell awkwardly skewed and right arm to the shoulder stuck in thick, wet, algae muck. I think this was an amazing stunt. What are the odds of a trip into space and landing almost completely on a board barely wide enough for two small feet?)
If I had the poise of a Heron, I’d be a fashion model.
If I had the focus of a Heron, I’d be a statue.
If I had the patience of a Heron, I’d be a saint.
If I had the coat of Heron, I’d eat more neatly.
If I had the wings of a Heron, I’d soar with grace.
I’ve had dealings with Herons, enjoyable encounters. My favorite is with a Little Blue Heron during a canoe trip. – A friend in the bow and I in the stern, paddling Mississippi River backwaters. Usually, we watch the birds but not so now. A Little Blue Heron walks beside us, keeping pace and even stopping when we do. He curiously stares at two people in a canoe. Maybe he wonders why a mammal that is not built to float goes to such trouble to do just that? Why do they add length to their arms? Their hands reach the water. Isn’t that enough? I surmise by their plumage that they can alter their covering. Why do they wear what they do? How and when do they change? I have so many questions and wish to observe. But now they are looking at me, as if I’m doing something silly or out of the ordinary? Do they think that I’m not interested in living things too?