Pond soldier on duty,
Neck like a coiled spear,
Long legs like a Welsh bowman,
Yellow knife for a beak,
Blue cloak of slender feathers,
Black khol mating mask,
Stealth-stalker of bull-frogs,
Martial artist still among reeds,
My Blue Heron.
|And So Our Hero Returns|
|Blue as the Pond|
|Patrolling the Perimeter|
|A Happy Sight to See|
|Great Blue Heron March 29, 2014|
Every morning from May through September, I'd call for my bird-love from the south porch. I'd sing "Blue Heron," to the tune of Andy William's "Moon River." Sometimes, feeling overly-caffeinated and bluesy, I'd sing "Blu-blu-blu heron," like a jazz singer or mountain beatnik. He'd flap his wings in response.
My warrior, my hero. Blue Heron saves me from sonorous bull-frogs that trumpet loudly on summer nights. The sound would overwhelm Elmira if it weren't for his appetite. I've seen him gulp down full-grown frogs for breakfast and dinner like a soldier chowing down in a mess hall after three days in the field.
He's tall enough to keep the eagles seeking easy meals elsewhere, thus protecting the pond's brood of ducks and mergansers. Yet, he welcomes osprey and kingfishers, sharing the hunt. Every summer day, over coffee or evening cider, I'd see Blue Heron and feel romanced. I'm a bird-watcher in love.
And then he left.
No croaking good-bye, no final flap of feathers. Blue Heron was gone and I felt the emptiness of my pond. So I waited for snow, turned inward for my thoughts, inside for my coffee. Staring at flames replaced staring at feathers.Then just this week, late March, the ice melted upon the pond. Ducks returned and I thought of my gallant Blue Heron once more.
This morning, I'm a complete bird-nerd. It's barely 48 degrees outside but I'm juggling a cup of coffee, binoculars and my camera as I settle into a white plastic chair on the south porch. My phone is pocketed in a denim shirt I'm wearing over an orange tee and cream turtleneck so I can text duck updates to my daughters. My hair is pinned haphazardly to my head; fashion is not the goal.
Just like in the romance stories, the hero walks in looking steely and gorgeous while the protagonist is half-dressed with mussy tresses, Blue Heron returns in all his colorful glory and I look like a frump. Not that it matters to him, I'm sure, but I'm stunned.
Blue heron is back!
Spilling coffee and kicking over the binoculars, I stumble off the wooden steps in heavy leather boots and trot to the fence. He flaps his wings and glides over the pond. Would cars on the highway understand if I whooped and hollered as if Hugh Jackman just pulled into my driveway all wolverine-like?
Maybe not. But my hero is home.