I step into a golden morning and something of the old self dies in the light. I am breathing in freshness ancient and new. My feet are damp with melting frost, and the sun is kissing every scarlet leaf. There is a presence with me in these woods, near and sweet, revealed suddenly through the tall river grasses – a blue heron, where the spring feeds the river. He is startled, and rises into the air downstream.
I slip under the drooping cover of a Norway spruce, where a hundred silky webs have caught the morning light between the branches. It is not long before I am surrounded by many small and flitting friends. Yellow warbler, blue jay, starling, robin, red-winged blackbird, and on the water, noiseless mallards and a lone Canada goose. I am in their domain, but as long as I am quiet and slow, they regard me with curiosity and accept me in their midst. What is it about their company that is so comforting? They seem to look at me with eyes from another world. As I rest into the life of the tree, their song reappears and soon crescendos into unreserved joy.
It is then that the heron returns, descending to the little island as a king takes up his throne. Does he see me, hidden here under the spruce boughs? Can he sense my eagerness? Has he come from parted heavens to voice that I am beloved? The water is still as glass, waiting for his next move.