July 19th, 2005

abstract butterfly

How it works

Mostly, you look for herons. They stand, across the way, using their focus and intention. I am rather a hobby aficionado of ants. Ants form complex societies, but research suggests that each individual ant lacks the sense that is allotted to, well, a group of ants. But a heron is another thing entirely.
It does not question the purpose of its existence. It merely stares at the water, nips in, and stares out. So, mostly, you stare at herons, who stare at the water. I saw a great blue heron once, in Wilson Creek, which is the creek that fuels the little Towne Lake Park, perhaps the most graceful prairie lake park known to personkind. I see them all the time. But this one was special. Don't ask me why. Herons and I don't talk about these things. It was a moment in time--that's all you know and need to know. Then he looked across the way, intelligence shared, and he flew off.

Great blue herons once became rare, because people focused their attention on DDT rather than herons. Now great blue herons are common, but they remember. They don't remember much about DDT, a silent melter of eggs. They instead remember about the cacophony which lasted until 1910, when people actually shot great blue herons for hat feathers. So you're looking at a heron trying to focus, and he's looking at you as if you were out to make his tail feathers into a hat. It's a non-symbiotic relationship, in a way, and you're not surprised when he flies off.

I saw a small green heron, once, in a place in the Bahamas that looked like a picture postcard of watery refuge. Greens are very shy, although their tail feathers are not long enough to be hat-worthy. You daydream, sometimes, of green herons,which is why they intrude on your thoughts, in the same way that South American penguins have a way of getting mixed in with your thoughts of the local mass transit, because the Dallas World Aquarium is someplace you go from time to time on the DART train.

It's like that, you know, a stream of herons and consciousness, and you feel it within you, and it moves you, somehow, and you pause for a moment, and try to stare intently down, and then you realize that you're better off wandering, and thinking about herons. You also improbably think of running through the DDT smog of mosquito trucks, of throwing baseball gloves at passing night bats, and
of giant luna moths which hovered, green/magnificent, in the lights of the Cabe Field baseball stadium when you were so very young. But mostly? Herons. Herons. and DDT.