Patience Grasshopper, erm Heron
“Lie still in a stream and breathe water. Climb to the top
of the highest tree until you come to the branch
where the blue heron sleeps. Eat poems for breakfast…”
Advice to Beginners (excerpt)
If I Had My Life to Live Over: I Would Pick More Daisies, Sandra Martz, ed.
It was only after I had maneuvered in close enough to grab onto the strut of his pontoon boat that he came into focus, all gelled and spiky hair and tats, the silver bolts through his eyebrow and lower cheek glinting. He was sinewy and compact and – surprisingly – handsome for someone you wouldn’t want to encounter alone on the street after dark. Read more of The Beautiful Great Blue Heron… and the Man with the Spider Tattoo.
It is very easy to become absorbed – too absorbed – by the scene unfolding through the lens. One day, I came face to face with a different danger facing photographers: I was so engrossed with following the Great Blue Heron through my lens that I nearly stepped over the edge into clear air. One more step, and I would have been in the water below the falls. Read more of The Great Blue Herons Dam Love Letter.
The man sat cross-legged on the sidewalk that skirted the perimeter along the water’s edge. In his lap, a pen and notebook. Pressed against his glasses, the eyepiece of an antique spyglass. Someone else might have used a modern telescope. Herons are ancient, their ancestors appearing 40 million years ago, and so it seemed fitting for him to have an old spyglass trained on the nesting island, instead of a newfangled telescope. Read more of The Beautiful Great Blue Herons Peaceful Muse .
It was then that I heard it, “Arh…. arh…. arh…. arh….” with a little tremolo. It sounded low and deep and like a frog. I swiveled my head to see where the frog was. There had been few frogs that summer; I no longer head the bullfrogs as I drifted off to sleep, so I was excited to hear a frog. And then I realized that this was no frog singing. It was the Heron vocalizing. I edged in just a little closer and softly echoed back my own version of her 4-syllable call. She repeated her refrain in reply. Goosebumps! Read more of Put the Great Blue Heron Back on her Pedestal? Who, me?.
Today I am enthralled when the green shoots come to the surface of the field like an ocean of spring. There wading through grasses, the birds lean skyward and, gathering momentum, rise up to soar. Both of them. The herons. Read more of Great Blue Heron Earth Day Love Redux .
A favorite location for photographing Herons is this sunken boat garden. One year the boat contained tubs of cherry tomatoes that looked delectable, the bright red of the fruit promising sweetness. In other years, the focus is flowers, like these gladiolus. While my favorite elements of nature are always the wild and untrammeled ones, this section of the shoreline is a place I’d love to inhabit for an evening, lazing in a hammock, fireflies twinkling around the flowers and the scent of dinner wafting from the grill. And a Great Blue Heron, there would be a Heron there. Sometimes no matter how well a photographer plans, the model has others ideas. This was one of those times. Read more of The Great Blue Herons Guest…Pink Flamingo?….
About today’s post: I have been nearly blind for many months and so have been largely absent from WordPress blogs. Yesterday I learned today that retina surgery is being scheduled within the next few weeks, which is an exciting development. Until then, Patience is the word of the day.
Because of my blindness, I’m not able to link in my posts to the various host sites for WP challenges/tags in the way I have always done in the past, but please know that I value the sense of community here, especially among the Lens Artists. Today’s post has Gladiolus flowers for Cee (FOTD), and has peace and follows the path most often taken (both for Lens Artists), and is a walk down memory lane on a Thursday (Throwback Thursday), and highlights the 5 all-time most popular posts for Paula’s Thursdays Special. This is the best I can do – sorry that I cannot link directly.
I do love a happy ending, and hope my eye surgeon delivers one for the Herons & me! Patience Grasshopper.
Once again, the Great Blue Heron diving beneath the water’s surface graced gallery walls.
My Great Blue Heron photographs were once again on display on the walls of the lobby and theater in a free one-woman show at the Summer Street Gallery, of The Center for Arts in Natick. It was great to see so many of you there.
Since 2001, the Center for Arts Natick has been housed in the circa 1875 historic Central Fire House, where the Summer Street Gallery provides an opportunity for accomplished visual artists in the region to have their work prominently displayed for TCAN’s diverse and loyal audience.
The Center for Arts Natick believes the arts are essential to a complete human experience and to the creation of a vibrant, healthy community. TCAN serves the Boston MetroWest region by increasing opportunities to experience, participate in, and learn about the arts. To this end, TCAN strives to present arts programs of the highest standard that are available to everyone. TCAN dedicates its resources to providing community access to diverse arts programs, reducing barriers to attendance, and building appreciation through arts education.
If you’re in the Boston or Metro West area, please stop by TCAN to see the wonderful gallery displays of artworks by many talented visual artists, as well as excellent live music performances and stage plays. The gallery is open whenever the box office is open, so please check hours here.
As always, many of my own photos were taken on the waterways of the Charles River watershed.
Cee Neuner, Debhie Smyth, Becky B, and the community of Lens Artists encourage the entire international network of photographers and writers. Please click the links below to see the beautiful offerings from these wonderful photographers.
Folks, now that some areas have opened back up in a new normal, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past THREE years and they still need your love more than ever.
The Natick Center Cultural District is situated in a friendly, classic New England town hosting a vibrant, contemporary fusion of art, culture and business. Click here and here to learn more!
My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.
TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick – One-woman photography show through February 2022
Natick Town Hall – Current group exhibit thru January 3 2023
Five Crows Gallery in Natick – Represented since 2013
Be a fly on the wall! Please CLICK HERE to see the Great Blue Herons gracing the gallery walls.
Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™
May the Muse be with you.™
The Tao of Feathers™
A Patience of Herons™
© 2003-2023 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)
Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick Center Cultural District
Thank you for the Super Sweet Blogger Award nomination
Petrel41 of dearkitty1 graciously and surprisingly nominated my blog for the Super Sweet Blogger award. Thanks for this warm honor, petrel41. Although we don’t know each other, I have been reading your blog for some time now. This post of yours from earlier this spring about the Cornell Great Blue Heron cam in particular, caught my attention. To the readers here, visit petrel41’s site for an eclectic mix of offerings, especially the nature photographs. And also check out the Cornell heron cam when you have a few minutes, although I’ve found it difficult to stay for only “a few minutes,” myself.
When nominated for the Super Sweet Blogger Award the nominees have to 1. thank the super sweet blogger that nominated them. 2. nominate a baker’s dozen of other bloggers (see below; with links to their blogs), and 3. answer 5 super sweet questions. [and probably: 4. add the Super Sweet Blogging Award image to your blog post and 5. notify your nominees at their blogs].
1.Cookies or Cake?
2. Chocolate or Vanilla?
Chocolate (In case of emergency, administer chocolate)
3. What is your favorite sweet treat?
Chocolate mousse cake
4. When do you crave sweet things the most?
After long walks in the snow
5. If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be?
Sweet Pea (this actually was a nickname years ago)
My baker’s dozen nominees for the Super Sweet Blogging Award are, in no particular order of preference:
Women in Planetary Science (because women + science)
The Dragonfly Woman (because dragonflies)
Jerry Katz on Nonduality (because Jerry is the rock star of Nonduality)
Wind Against Current (because kayaking)
Sheila Hurst (because wonderful dog romping in vacation post)
Living in Gratitude (because hummingbirds)
A Wild One Within (because authenticity)
Twng32 (because earnest practice of photography)
HERON (because saving herons)
Diamond Mike Watson (because fellow adoptee)
This Time This Space (because community focus)
This Would Make A Great Story… (because argyle sox!!)
Thanks again for recognizing my blog with this warm award nomination, petrel41!
Saturday Poker Game
You’re going to have some explaining to do, Mister! Another long poker session with the boys? You’re a father now!
Heading out first thing that Saturday morning, I was apprehensive that the herons’ nest might have been abandoned, as it had been a few years ago. Our Independence Day holiday was three days earlier. It had been a magical day on the water on the 4th of July, but that night back at home, I cringed in bed listening to hours and hours of fireworks going off from the general direction of the lake. My home is only a block or so away from the southern-most end of the lake, and from the relentless percussion of the booms, it was clear that some private homes were setting fireworks off over the water.
If it sounded that loud to me, what must it have sounded like to the herons? Adult herons frightened by loud noises have been known to abandon nests, and the chicks – how would that sort of boom and blast affect the hearing of chicks that are less than two weeks out of the egg?
So, it was with deep gratitude that, as I rounded the point and the island came into view, I saw the adult female standing guard patiently above the nest. Through the binocs, I could see the two chicks present and accounted for, and sparring with each other – butting bills together in the heron equivalent of lion cubs tussling and rolling each other over. So, three of four herons remained at the nest, the adult and two chicks.
And the adult male? Usually, he arrives at the nest around 11am, to relieve the female, but he was late, and getting later.
By 1pm, the female had climbed off the nest, and up a tall branch. She stood at full height for a long, long time, looking in the direction from which her mate usually arrives. The male stayed out on his fishing trip much longer than usual, and finally showed up for the changing of the parental guard around 2:30 pm.
I’m not sure what goes through a mother heron’s mind, but while she was staring off so expectantly for her long-overdue mate, at one point her body language seemed to say, “You’re going to have some explaining to do, Mister! Another long poker session with the boys? You’re a father now!”
(This took place July, 2012)
© 2013 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)
Brown Bag Lunch in the Cove
There were many dragonflies – tasty and I love how their wings tickle on my tongue…
The eastern-most end of the cove is the feeding ground and roostng spot for one of the older herons. He is very wary and gorgeous, and it’s always a thrill to see him here, wading, foraging for fish or sunning himself on the overturned willow that came down the year before.
Yesterday, I visited a couple hours earlier than prime feeding time, and so he wasn’t about. That made an opportunity to paddle in closer.
Right stroke… left stroke… right blade planted shallowly… now a broad arc around the white blossoms… left stroke… gliding straight now, past the lily pads… Gliding… Gliding… Gliding up to the fallen willow where he often preens.
Look! A big blue-grey flight feather floating there, a downy belly feather tuft, too. And beyond the willow, paddling deeper to where it stops being cove and starts being brook. What’s the name of that blue flower? Must look it up. This is where the yellow daisies bloomed last fall, it must be.
The water level is much higher than ever. How deeply I can paddle without bottoming out, or getting stuck, like last summer. That was a long slow slog back out.
Mustn’t tarry too long here, but what a beautiful place. Serene, still, and so many wild flowers, lush ferns. He may be back soon…
Right paddle planted deep, hard stroke left, bring the boat around sharply. Yes, like that. Stroke… Glide… Stroke… Glide… Glide… Stroke, stroke, stroke.
There! Back in neutral territory, away from his space. Can rest now, and cruise along on the breeze. Floating… Floating…
I’m hungry. Where’s a good picnic spot? Ah, right here: not too close to the trees, a little shade, still waters, a good place for a floating lunch. Paddle leashed and propped ‘cross the cockpit. Lunch bag open. Hot tea, warm oatmeal – maple syrup and brown sugar.
Mmmm. That was very good. Satisfying in the fresh air. Well, time to head in. Close the tea mug, stow the lunch containers, don the gloves, paddle ready.
Wait, what’s that on the island shore? Hunkered down? Watching me…
Later that evening, just after dusk, back at home.
“How was your outing, dear?”
“Oh, so lovely. There were many dragonflies – tasty and I love how their wings tickle on my tongue…
“And so many sunfish – the smallish ones, not so many bones. Did you ever notice how irridescent they are? If you hover your wings just so over the water so the sun gets that glowy filtering while you stir the bottom just right with your left foot, they’re much easier to see… and to catch.
“But the most unusual thing happened. I was out at the cove, wading along the small island shore when I saw it, right before my eyes. A human…
“I watched in silence for the longest time.
“It is not so rare to see a human in the cove, and there’s one who sometimes watches me when I’m down at the end, where its more brook than cove. You know the place. She thinks I’m not aware of her presence, but I am. I just let her think that.
“I sometimes put on a show for her, preening, stretching my neck far back to get at that itchy spot right over my left shoulder. Or extending my wings half open, down low.
“And I love to show her how to fish. How to be patiently still, toeing the water beneath the surface imperceptably, watching for the telltale glint of a fin, swish of a tail…
“Whoosh, thrust, submerge, a clean strike. The trout is mine!
“And I surface, wriggling trout speared. A beauty.
“Usually I just wolf it down, but sometimes – sometimes – I want to show her. And so gradually I step and turn and stand there so she can see what a beauty I have caught. What a beauty I am.
“She loves to watch me feeding from a distance.
“Today I watched a human in my cove…
“A human… feeding.
“They have curious feeding rituals, humans do.”
(This took place August 23, 2008)
© 2013 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)