It was my last day on Anna Maria Island and I had some time to kill. Checkout of my cottage was at 10 A.M., and my flight out of Tampa wasn’t until 4:00. I decided to take one last walk out to the beach and feel the sun on my face before heading back home to perpetually cloudy Ohio.
The weather had been cool for Florida, even for this time of year, so I had the beach nearly all to myself. I was more than happy to throw on an extra layer of clothes than have to deal with crowds of beachcombers.
At first, I was going to sit and just watch the slow, easy waves of the gulf rolling in, but I caught sight of a lone figure on a pier a few yards away and wandered over to investigate. I had seen several photos of Great Blue Herons in some of the gift shops during my visit, but had not been lucky enough to see any in real life until now. As I got closer, I realized it was indeed a juvenile heron!
He stood on one leg, sure and relaxed. I could imagine he was sitting, taking in the warmth of the sun on his feathers just as I was soaking the sun into my skin. What an amazing feeling to experience a bond with a creature so free and sure of itself. I decided to take a walk out onto the pier and see how close I could get. There was a part of me that didn’t want to disturb him, but the selfish part of me won over and I slowly made my way closer to him, camera on the entire time.
And look how close I got to him! I really had expected him to fly long before that, but he waited until I was directly across from him before he flew. I could almost imagine him sighing in resignation and thinking, Damn, since this human isn’t going to leave me alone, I guess I’ll go fly somewhere else. I watched him lift off, slowly and effortlessly. It really was amazing watching such a large bird move with that much grace and ease. I realized then that I had been holding my breath. I closed my eyes, lifted my face to the sun, and inhaled the salty scent of the ocean.
When I got home I was talking with my parents about the trip, and how I felt so at peace with life when I’m near the ocean or anywhere that I’m able to have nature at my fingertips. I mentioned that I really was feeling it was time to get my writing career in gear so that I could have the freedom to live and travel to different places to write and share my experiences with others. At some point, I mentioned my experience with the heron, and they suggested I look on the internet to see if there was anything about what an intimate experience with a Great Blue Heron might mean. And well, just see below. (Underlining of text is my doing.)
The Great Blue Heron
The great blue heron is considered the king of the marsh, although the short-eared owl has been known to re-adjust a heron’s point of view. It is the tallest of the herons, and when it flies, its head is folded back in a flat S-shaped loop. This reflects the innate wisdom of being able to maneuver through life and control its life circumstances. It reflects a need for those with this totem to follow their own innate wisdom and path of self-determination. You know what is best for you and should follow it, rather than the prompting of others.
The great blue heron in flight is powerful, and its legs and head are held in a straight line. It uses a slow stalking stride when hunting. When it spies a fish, it spears its prey with its sharp beak and with quick speed. Again, it reflects an aggressive movement towards opportunities that present themselves.
I couldn’t have asked for a clearer message. All I had to do was open my eyes and see what was right in front of me. And so the Great Blue Heron is the reason for this blog finally coming to life.