The Great Blue Heron’s Invitation (Post Number 200)

Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into flight.

With apologies to James Wright’s poem “A Blessing”
The Branch Will not Break

© Babsje (

Great blue heron fishing near the mossy log.

That day, I went out in the kayak for two and a half hours. There was no wind then, it was calm, and sweet, and I felt suffused with joy.

At one point in the secluded cove, I failed to notice a great blue heron on a fallen willow, the one felled by the big winds of the previous summer.

I had drifted up very close. I didn’t see her, but she saw me. Only when she burst into flight did I notice her.

Usually when they take off, the air is silent. That day, though, what alerted me to her presence was the rustle of her feathers. It was a sound unlike any other, and the soft, unmistakeable friction of quill against quill brought me to goosebumps.

Her flight was only a short, slow hop across the cove, to the other side, and when she landed, she stood upright and stared at me as if to say “Well, are you happy now?”

We stayed together, the heron staring at me, for a few minutes, then she turned and stalked deeper into the mysterious forest at the eastern end of the cove, where humans never go.

Only this time – since she knew I was there and, even knowing of my presence, she plied the shore very slowly, unafraid, not at all warily – I took her behavior as an invitation to follow her deeper and deeper along the slender finger of water until it was too shallow for even a kayak.

Any farther and I would have had to grow flight feathers to continue on.

Some day, I may just do that anyway – step out of my body and break into flight.


Thanks to Ese for her Weekly Shoot & Quote Challenge: Imagination prompt.

Thanks to Ailsa for her Where’s My Backpack: Wood challenge.

Thanks to Sue for her A Word a Week Photo Challenge: Undulate prompt.


A selection of my heron and flower photos is now available at the Five Crows Gallery in Natick, MA. Drop in and see the work of the many wonderfully creative artists who show there when you’re in the area.

Five Crows is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2014 Babsje. (

Great Blue Heron

Posted on January 27, 2014, in A Word A Week Photo Challenge, ardea herodias, Art, Birds, Ese's Weekly Shoot & Quote Challenge, Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, Nature Photography, Photography, postaday, Weekly Travel Themes and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. …and those are the moments, almost afraid to know we can.

  2. Hi B Great shot of the Heron. It was great that you were able to follow it so far.

  3. Wonderful setting for our GBH friend!

    • Many thanks, Phil! Your own heron-egret. The encounter from the other day was delightful. I’m not prone to envy, but if I were I’d envy you the blue waters and dancing birds in your marsh this time of year.

  4. “Some day, I may just do that anyway – step out of my body and break into flight.”
    Sometimes when I ride my bike fast on the Mississippi River, I feel like I have stepped out of my body and started flying….I have the birds flying over me as I move + for a moment I do feel that way!…I hope someday you do take flight!:-)

    • Thanks so much, Robbie! Your description of flying on your bicycle is lovely, and magical, too. The wind must feel wonderful blowing through your hair as you speed along.

      • I feel like a little kid! It is so much fun, but the best part is when the wind is behind you and it pushes you along and you just enjoy the ride while the beauty around you rolls by:-) I feel it must be like flying, but just not in the air-lol

  5. lol..well not on the Mississippi river….next to her mighty waters….tee hee!

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