A Place to Just Be

A couple of weeks ago my sister and one of my nieces came for an afternoon visit,  the first in a few years for my sister and my niece’s first visit to the pond.  I was excited to have the opportunity to chat all afternoon and we would spend most of our visit inside as they were here the day after the fish kill on the pond.  They arrived to a watery, fishy stench intensified by 99 degree heat and a scarred landscape covered in fragments of cottonwood seed pods.  “Welcome to Green Heron Pond”, fuzzy n fishy in the worst way…

The birds however, seemed to know that it was their place to salvage this ragged scene for our special company.  Just minutes after my sis and niece arrived- looking out the back windows towards the pond, a Cardinal, Downy Woodpecker and a brilliantly hued reddish- purple headed House Finch showed up to the feeder and lingered, enjoying close scrutiny.  Next was the Great Blue Heron out on the dock, seemingly posing like a model on a fancy photo shoot, soon followed by a Great Egret- all elegance along the shoreline.  Then the Mallards and Momma duck with the three smallest ducklings strolled across the yard parading around and around. It would be this way all that afternoon.

And that has been how we’ve viewed the pond since- mostly from inside- through the windows, watching for birds, an occasional turtle; believing all our big fish were gone and waiting for the random decaying aroma to subside and hopeful the wind would blow the last of the cottonwood seeds and stench out…until this last weekend when after a long and frustrating day Dan and I decided to spend the late evening on the dock.  The 95+ temp had cooled and a welcome breeze kept mosquitoes and fishy odor at bay.  We stayed out until almost midnight listening to pond night sounds and peering into the deep dark for shadows of movement… a bat, the Black Crested Night Heron, rustlings in the low hanging branches of shoreline willows, the call of one Bullfrog to another and the sporadic rhythm of cicada sounds.  It was lovely, healing, peaceful and my heart was full of gratitude to have such a place to just be.

My quiet reverie was juxtaposed against last week’s violence across our country…I couldn’t help but think of the almost irony of that.  Then I thought of something my sister had written to me after our visit- that there would be less violence  if people would just sit and visit sometimes…  I thought surely that is true and if we would sometimes just sit and listen in a quiet place, the breeze gentle on our skin and sounds of Nature calling us to just be…

heron nesting