Monday, November 11, 2013

Monday Mindfulness ~ heron and frog

I was sort of a day early with my mindful meditation, posting a haiku about a frog yesterday.  In the afternoon, I went with a couple of friends to our nearby lake and watched a heron stand silently until we wandered too close to where he stood silently watchful in the water.  Disturbed, he flew away with great sweeps of his mighty wings, much like this photo of another heron in the floodwaters behind my house a couple of years ago.  (Click on the photo to enlarge it.)  Yesterday's giant bird flew out to an island and stood there majestically.  We saw another heron as we traversed the winding road out of the park.

Our "heron moments" were framed by the attention we gave that tall bird standing just off-shore in the shallow water, watching for fish.  Or maybe frogs.  Like the one I posted yesterday, or this less neon-green frog, half-submerged in his pond.  Thinking about Basho's frog-splash haiku focused my attention on the heron, which I pointed out to my friends Jane and Tillie.  When I came home, a distant Facebook friend had posted this poem about a heron.  How many coincidences can one day hold?

"The Heron"
by Jack Ridl

Whenever we noticed her
standing in the stream, still
as a branch in dead air, we
would grab our binoculars,
watch her watching,
her eye fixed on the water
slowly making its own way
around stumps, over a boulder,
under some leaves matted against
a fallen log. She seemed
to appear, stand, peer, then
lift one leg, stretch it, let
a foot quietly settle into the mud
then pull up her other foot, settle
it, and stare again, each step
tendered, an ideogram at the end
of a calligrapher's brush.
Every time she arrived, we watched
until, as if she had suddenly heard
a call in the sky, she would bend
her knees, raise her wide wings,
and lift into the welcome grace
of the air, her legs extending
back behind her, wings rising
and falling elegant under the clouds:
For more than a week now
we have not seen her. We watch
the sky, hoping to catch her great
feathered cross moving above the trees.

"The Heron" by Jack Ridl
from Practicing to Walk like a Heron
© Wayne State University Press

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