Beautiful Great Blue Heron Walking Along the Shore

© Babsje (

Great Blue Heron walking along the shore – babsjeheron

How I Go to the Woods

Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single
friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore

I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds
or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of
praying, as you no doubt have yours.

Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit
on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds,
until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost
unhearable sound of the roses singing.

If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love
you very much.

Mary Oliver,
Swan: Poems and Prose Poems by Mary Oliver

© Babsje (

Oranges Figured Prominently in the Boston Marathon – babsjeheron

This week, Amy of the Lens Artists asked the community for our stories and photos of walks.

My way of walking is the way described in Mary Oliver’s poem above. Just change the last sentence to read “If you have ever gone on a walk with me, I must love you very much.”

And yet, there I was with thousands. Walking the Boston Marathon. All 26.2 miles. Twice.

For five years, I lived right on the marathon route. In fact, it cuts through the lake where I spend time with the Herons and Hawks and Egrets and Swans. The photos of the beautiful Mute Swan bathing were captured less than 20 yards from the Marathon route, as were the Bald Eagle eyeing the Great Blue Heron fledglings and the Great Egret looking at that Amtrak train as a migration option.

People who know me are aware that I’m recovering from a broken heel, and the only marathons I am doing for now are in my sweet dreams. As Amy of Lens Artist fame urges I gotta keep walking.

The photos below were taken from my street during the 2014 running of the Marathon. It was a poignant year, one year after the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing. Certainly the bombings at the finish line of the 2013 race were not expected. For the 2014 running, I expected that things would be different – new security, new logistics, new “motivations” for some, etc. Media coverage in the months leading up to the race had ramped up, and I was prepared for the intense “Boston Strong” focus, but I was not expecting the emotional experience of seeing the many yellow shirts with “Team MR8” in honor of Martin Richard, the eight-year-old who died in the blast.

There, beneath the lettering MR8 on those shirts was the word “peace” in Martin’s childish penmanship, the same young handwriting on his now-famous poster that says “No more hurting people. Peace.”

When I saw that simple word “peace” through my lens, I wept. I sat down on the wall and wept unexpectedly.

© Babsje (

Boston Marathon 2014 Team MR8. Note the word “peace” partly obscured by the runner’s bib – babsjeheron

© Babsje (

Increased security prohibited outlandish costumes but didn’t bar utili-kilts and star-spangled tights – babsjeheron

© Babsje (

Juggling and all that jazz.
The drummer played non-stop for six hours, and the juggler kept the balls in the air for 26.2 miles – babsjeheron

© Babsje (

This was the Hoyt’s 32nd and final Boston Marathon – babsjeheron.

© Babsje (

Boston Strong – Boston Marathon 2014 – babsjeheron

© Babsje (

Running through the crowds on the street where I lived – Boston Marathon 2014 – babsjeheron


This post is prompted by Cee and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers. This week, the Lens Artists focus on gorgeous photos with the theme of Keep Walking.


Thanks to Cee for her Hunt for joy. I don’t know if this challenge is still on, but I really like the idea of searching for joy. The Herons bring joy.


From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 163: Keep Walking .

From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 163: Keep Walking .

From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 163: Keep Walking .

From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 163: Keep Walking .


Folks, now that some areas are opening back up, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past year and they need your love.

My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
Natick Town Hall
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
Audubon Sanctuary

Be a fly on the wall! You can CLICK HERE to see the gallery walls with Herons .


Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2003-2021 Babsje. (

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick, Boston Marathon

Posted on August 31, 2021, in # Lens-Artists, ardea herodias, Boston Marathon, Heron, Inspiration, Nature, Sports Photography, Wildlife Photography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 47 Comments.

  1. Loved this post Babsje – hadn’t seen the story of the young boy, nor had I ever thought someone could run and juggle at the same time!! Your images really show the spirit of the city and of the day. well done!

    • Hi Tina. I’m so glad you appreciated this post. The sorry of Martin Richard is both heaer-breaking and Heart-warming. He had created a poster that said literally “No more hurting people. Peace.” That is a sentiment for the ages. There is a foundation in his name doing good works. His older sister, Jane, lost a leg and I should have included her in my post l. That juggler was awesome. Best, Babsje

  2. What am uplifting post, Babsje. Thank you 🙂

    I enjoyed your Marathon stories, that simple ‘Peace’ word says so much, even today – considering world news headlines…

    I’ll have to buy my daughter Mary Oliver’s poetry book, for they are kindred spirits (at least with respect to walking into the woods). 🙂

    • Hi Patricia. Many thanks for your kind comments. I think you’re right – that universal message or Peace is much-needed around the world today, right now. Mary Oliver was a treasure and I’m sure your daughter will enjoy her poetry. I have frequently given her books as gifts – and I’m sure you know how tricky it can be to choose a book for another person. Thanks for your comment. Best, Babsje

  3. Thank you so much for the post, Babsje! The 2014 running of the Marathon was a special event. Your photos are very moving. Remarkable!
    I am glad to hear that you are recovering from a broken heel.

  4. Lovely documentary photography and stories of the Boston Marathon. Someday I’d like to walk a marathon.

    I would love to attend a play or comedy act but I can’t wear a mask for too long (panic attack). Most venues in New Jersey require vaccination and face masks during the performance. There are very few arts venues hosting outdoor events. 😥

    • Hi Khurt. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments. Walking a marathon is just one step at a time – for a very very long time. Walking around the neighborhood can be a great thing, too. The new requirements for music and theater venues are the same here. I rely on virtual events for the time being. Best, Babsje

  5. Great post about a great event Babsje!

  6. I loved this post, Babsje. The race held a year after the bombing was a triumph of kindness and solidarity. You captured the emotion and energy of this event so wonderfully.

  7. Yes, keep walking – glad you are recovering! This is a moving and beautiful post. I must admit I did not know about the bombings, and this was a story well told, Babsje.

    • Hi Leya. Thanks very much, I’m glad you learned from this post. That was a very intense time in our city. A neighboring town went into government-mandated lockdown in 2013 with door-to-door searching to find and capture one of the bombers. They did find him. Thanks also for your healing wishes. Best, Babsje

  8. This post made me cry. I think it should be sent to the marathon site on Facebook, or the website… somewhere. There is so much feeling in it. There is so much knowledge in it and so much about “telling the story” in it. (I didn’t know that was the Hoyts last run). I am originally from New England, spent all my summers in Scituate and now live in AZ. I was also a lifelong runner. Just a few weeks ago we stayed in Boston and out of respect went to the memorial just down from the Commons. It was small and still I cried. My cousin was head of catching the cowards that did it. Im so proud of her and her team of people.

    This is all so close to “home”. Absolutely captured me. Thank you.

    And PS…The poem was written for me…too. lol. And congratulation on your marathon feat.

    • Many thanks for your generous comment and heartfelt response. And a big thank you to your relative who was instrumental in apprehending the perpetrator! What a small world that you were a New Englander yet this post found its way to you in AZ. I’m not on Facebook and wouldn’t know who it could be sent to, but please feel free to pass the link along to anyone with the Marathon there. I’m glad the post moved you and appreciate you taking the time to write about it here. Best, Babsje

  9. Of course your story was wonderful, but I also loved the wide variety of photos–not just your typical “running” ones. And Mary Oliver is such an old favorite. I’m sure you have posted her heron poem somewhere on this site, and I just haven’t come across it, being rather new here.
    Peace indeed!

    • Thanks so much, Julie. Yes, Mary Oliver was a National Treasure wasn’t she? I’m glad you appreciated the photos – I don’t often do sports photos but took hundreds that day. Going through them was like reliving the event all over again – the good and the bad. I’m glad you liked this one. Best, Babsje

  10. WOW, simply WOW. Don’t get me started on idiots that want to kill or maim people. Beautiful tribute.

    • Hi John. Thank you for your generous compliment. This was a difficult piece to write – it brought back so many memories of the bombing and aftermath and near-miraculous capture of the miscreant bomber. And it also reminded me of the healing powers of peace and love and time. Best, Babsje

  11. What a wonderful story, Babsje. That must have been a very emotional run for everyone. The pictures you took captured the idea of inclusion. Everyone could do this. I’m amazed at the jugglers. Wow, just a great photo documentary. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Marsha. I’m pleased that you like this post and also that you noticed the inclusive nature of the people shown. It is a remarkable feat of resilience and persistence for everyone – the participants and their supporters and the race organizers, everybody. I was especially moved by the person wearing the bib that says “Guide” who was guiding a runner with impaired eyesight. I almost typed in impaired “vision” but they are two different things. That runner may have poor eyesight, but their ‘vision’ was strong and healthy and right. Thanks for commenting. Best, Babsje

  12. Yes, I remember the bombing – I was so shocked. Awesome images!
    Why I came here, because I saw your name (I think it was at Debbie’s site). You probably have Dutch roots? I am Dutch, and still on this side of the pond! Just had to say hello:) Emille (Jesh)

    • Many thanks for your thoughtful comment. Glad you visited and introduced yourself! I’m not Duxth myself but have family connections there. I would love to learn the language! Best, Babsje

  13. I have heard that Boston’s marathon is truly one of the top ones to be a part of for culture and enjoyment – and also is hard to qualify for – hmmm
    And to think that you walked it so many times and also had part of the route so close like that is really cool,
    I liked the extras too – like the juggling and all that jazz! Oh and the orange slice being offered is a great shot! 🍊🧡

    • Thanks so much for your great comment. You even found an orange emoji! The orange slides are a tradition, although I’m not sure they could do that these days after the increased security. Boston is world-class and qualifying is difficult, although I think the older a runner is the less difficult because less competition? Walking the Marathon as opposed to running is not sanctioned – it is done as bandits. Again increased security would make it no longer possible. The sense of community is incredible. Each neighborhood through which the race winds is different. The women at Wellesley College are so warm and earnest. The area at Boston College has a fun party vibe. Brookline is always thronged and bustling with spectators and a co-worker actually saw me as I passed through. 2014 was profoundly poignant. 2020 was virtual. 2021 has moved from April to the fall. Things change. Life goes on. Best, Babsje

      • hi – yes life goes on indeed and some changes are for the better – whereas some set us back- eh?
        and the idea of bandits getting the walking part in is fun.
        oh and the orange emoji was easy to find when on a mobile device because they offer a search feature now and you type in a word – like orange – and they bring up a few options – emoji options sure have advanced in the last eight years 🚶‍♀️🚶🚶‍♂️

  14. “Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible.”​
    ​Such a tender tribute. 💕❤🙏✌🏃🏃🏃🏃

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