Great White Heron of Winter 2020
It is December 2020 and there is a lone great white heron fishing amongst the reeds in the manmade lake where I walk each day. A blue norther is blowing in tonight, temperatures have dropped dramatically, but he's still here.
I first saw him on a cold autumn day back in September. That day I raced home and referred to my birding sites to try to determine why he had not flown south for the winter like most water birds in these parts. To my surprise, I learned that some of these birds have started wintering here even in the coldest of times. Global warming has made that possible. Like people, some have adapted while most of the flock have flown south, to go about their lives as usual.
But today it is not just the extraordinary timing of an out-of-season-bird that captures my attention. It is the sheer beauty of it. It's an empty canvas with a few undefined brush strokes- one blue, one black, and one imagined white stroke that is camouflaged into the white of the canvas. I imagine this as the heron's stark white form against a cold blue sky, gracefully harmonizing like it is summer in the reeds and water. The sound of this image is a randomly captured syncopation of words in my head,"right here, right now, right here, right now", mixed with wind and heron vocals. This is the music of being alone in the dead of this particular winter. Instead of counting laps, I am breathing each footstep to the "right here, right now" of the moment.
Animals speak to me. Not in an animated way but in a spiritual and profound style of messaging. I think of what they might be feeling and why they are behaving or showing up in the particular way I am observing. I feel privileged to hear them. Sometimes this happens in dreams but quite often in real life.
Those who know me know I am accustomed to seeing animals where they shouldn't be. I once saw a wolf in an area of the hill country about twenty miles outside of Austin, a place wolves are not usually seen. I was driving to work early one morning when I spotted something at the side of the road just outside my peripheral vision. My mind said," a deer is about to run across this road." But before I could process that information a huge wolf appeared squarely framed in my windshield, remaining in full motion as he jumped across the hood of my car. He did not hesitate. It was a ballet of sorts. My car going 40 MPH and his leap perfectly timed to clear the hood of the car without a pause. I knew there were no wolves in this area of Texas. I thought it might be a coyote, but I knew different. Of course no one I told at work or home believed me. They all repeated the conventional wisdom... that wolves were not in the area. It was months later that I learned that a man in our rural neighborhood had kept two wolves on his property while trying to domesticate them. They had recently escaped. I had not trusted my eyes or what I knew in my heart. After attaining this wisdom lesson I chose the wolf spirit as one of my totem animals. This was just one of the many animal totem experiences of my life but one that seems to repeat itself over and over, especially in times like these.
Everything changes, including our own way of seeing. There are fish to catch and stories to tell, born out of cold winters and time. The winter of 2020 has now taken a turn for the better in my mind and heart. It is the slight glimmer of light sparkling off the reeds. It is ours to determine what we believe about the future. Is it an unlikely lone great white heron or the reflection of the sun on a shiny surface? Either can be true. What we believe is what we see.
My newest book and audiobook, Pet Eyes-A New Way of Seeing is available on dreameroo.com or http://helloaventurine.com-jb-amazon
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Jan Bozarth has made a career out of her words, music, and images. She is a published songwriter and book writer (The Fairy Godmother Academy Series Random House/Yearling) and Coded for Greatness of the Aventurine Series. She is a producer of entertainment for girls, women, and anyone who has a dream.