I had a strange dream last night. As I tried to shake the atmosphere from my mind in my room this morning, I turned to look out the window. Past the branches of the maple, through the gap in the spruces, I saw the heron. I keep thinking I’ve seen the last of him, that the snows and winds will have pushed him southward.
There must be something about this river that he likes.
The peek through the trees was enough to pull me downstairs and out of the stuffy air to the damp morning outside. As much as one can tiptoe in Bogs, I did, till I found the heron stalking fish downstream of the island.
I must always still and slow myself to be in his company. He is one curved shape and then another, patient and self-possessed in his hunt. He is not like the flitting shore birds. His is a deeper presence, as if growing out of the red silt riverbed itself.
My eyes reach and my mind follows, till the lingering mists of the strange night recede, and clear water flows once more in the valley.