Stalking the Great Blue

by Ann B Day


There is a certain place on a back road
where I always drive slowly to see over
the guardrail into the wetland,
just in case.
One quiet afternoon it is there in the marsh
close to the guardrail. I pull ahead to park,
quietly climb out of the car with my camera
on my shoulder.

I creep back along the rail, stopping behind
alder bushes to watch the long-legged heron,
its neck stretched, head tipped, one gray eye
staring at the water.
Barley moving, it stalks, one step and then
another, the surface of the water hardly ripples.
Again, its head tips, the other eye looking
into the water.
From behind the alders, I aim my camera,
take photos; the heron seems to be in a trance.
I watch. I am closer to the edge of the water.
Too close.
The great blue heron rises out of the swamp,
water dripping from its legs, and, with slow-
motion beats of its huge blue-gray wings,
it is gone over the pines and out of sight.

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