Several times each year I see Great Blue Herons as I drive over Lockatong Creek on my way hither and yon ... but always from a good distance. Yesterday, working at home and pausing to look out the window, I watched a large, delicate creature, more gray than blue, with an astonishing wing span gliding across the garden, alighting at the pond edge just below the house. A frog plopped into the water and the heron jumped in to search.
I'm not sure what I felt. First surprise and excitement; I've never seen one of these wild creatures close up. Gratitude, curiosity, a little disappointment when it spied me and took off, rising in a long arc over the garden and into the trees. Admiration, wonder.
A couple of years ago one surprised me while I was doing some gardening chores. I heard a flutter and flapping above, and just caught sight of a dark, giant creature leaving the top of a Blue Atlas Cedar next to the house. And I remember thinking, had I lived in ancient times, I might have understood this as a visit by one of the gods, something wondrous, more heard than seen.
But we live in an age of reason, and I dismissed that wonder and surprise, knowing it was just a heron leaving a perch in a tree.
The pictures are of wild turkeys visiting my living room window (excuse the reflections on the glass). I didn't get a photo of the heron.