Saturday, March 29, 2014

My Warrior, My Hero

Pond soldier on duty, 
Neck like a coiled spear,
Long legs like a Welsh bowman, 
Gladiator's chest,
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 warrior,
My hero,
My Blue Heron.

And So Our Hero Returns
Blue as the Pond
Patrolling the Perimeter
A Happy Sight to See
Stealth Stalking
Great Blue Heron March 29, 2014
Blue Heron romanced me into bird-watching on Elmira Pond. Never had I seen such massive elegance so close over coffee. With wings spanning six feet, it's hard to miss the Great Blue Heron who resides at Elmira Pond.

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.


  1. Replies
    1. He is so gorgeous! But like a warrior, I noticed he's a bit beat up, too--missing some feathers. I wish I knew how far he has to travel to return or whether he might father some babies!

  2. So amazing! Just like we can always count on the promise of spring, you get a bonus promise as well.

  3. That's such a beautiful way to say it! And we have the real bonus written on our hearts in the blood of our Savior!

  4. Um, did someone say Hugh Jackman?
    Now I'm distracted...

    1. Ha! Yes, that is exactly how Blue Heron makes me feel--like Hugh Jackman strutted past the place! :-)

  5. Todd, my husband and editor, pointed out that Andy Williams sang, "Moon River" not "Blue River." Ha, ha...whatever...I never do get the lyrics right! :-) But for his sanity, I corrected the error.

  6. I don't believe I have ever heard anyone wax so eloquently about a Blue Heron before! Totally awesome! Btw, I frequently change lyrics to suit my needs. I can "hear" Andy Williams crooning "blue river" without any problem :)

    1. Thanks for hearing, "blue" river and for understanding the romantication of a bird!

  7. Charli,

    What beautiful descriptions! I love that you sing "Moon River" to him. Man, I bet seeing him gulp frogs down is quite the sight! However, I think Hugh Jackman would be even more of a sight to see:) Live on blue heron - he's your huckleberry friend:)

    1. My huckleberry friend...I love it and it fits the tune! Yes, I'm hoping Hugh Jackman sees this and pulls up in my driveway! :-)

  8. So delighted you 'share' your love -- Blue Heron. We have White Herons here on the Georgia coast, but I don't think I've ever seen a Blue Heron. BTW, 'Moon River' exists here in Savannah, GA. The waterway was renamed to honor Johnny Mercer after the song became so popular through the movie 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'. Johnny Mercer was from Savannah. :)

  9. I did not know that about "Moon River"! My husband lived in GA (Ft. Benning) for four years, so he maybe he knew that. I'd love to see a white heron one day. Blue herons are the biggest of herons and it's amazing to get to see the same one day in and day out (for the season, that is).

  10. I am really looking forward to seeing ours again, it should happen any day! They are so interesting to watch flying with their necks tucked and legs trailing behind them.

    1. They are, aren't they! They can be so still then lightening fast when they go for a fish or frog. I've seen Blue Heron eat some big bull frogs! Tell me when yours arrive! It will be fun to compare notes.