A Great Blue Heron glided into my back yard this morning. Since I live between two salt water creeks, they often fly overhead at sunrise, winging toward better fishing grounds, but landing beneath oak and pine trees in my winter-dead butter bean patch at 10 a.m. is something altogether different.
I watched as she? he? settled feathers and gazed without movement for long minutes, less than 10 feet from my window. Occasionally, he’d turn his long neck and lock me in a stare with a fierce yellow eye. With neck extended, we’re the same height. I held my breath in awe.
Twice he left the butter beans, standing for a while with the empty tomato cages, then stalking across the yard to explore beneath the grape arbor, exiting the arbor near the dogwoods. Each time he circled back to the butter bean patch.
For more than an hour this giant and I stared at each other. Was he injured? I saw no signs that he was distressed. Was he hungry? They eat fish and snakes, not likely meals in my yard in February. Was he delivering a message? Yes, I believe.
Great Blue Herons are solitary birds, exceedingly patient hunters in deep waters. They remind us to be patient with ourselves as we delve into the deep waters of our unconscious minds. We need to remember that our answers always lie within us, and that we must learn to trust ourselves and our own answers.
Water also represents emotions, and Great Blue Herons remind us that, while awareness and examination of our emotions are beneficial, we also must glide through the air of intellect and thought if we’re to find balance.
Why did he spend an hour far from his natural habitat, resting solidly on the rich dirt of Mother Earth in my garden? Perhaps he came to be grounded for a while, and to remind me that I share his need.
Photo: National Park Service