There are two great blue herons in my life:
One spends his time, eats his fish, drinks his water (I saw him dip
...his bill two mornings ago.),
And shrieks his shrieks near John’s Creek.
He is the only living creature these days who spends his time creek side
Except a few fishermen, most of whom come and go but do not remain
long enough to find redemption.
My heron wades when the Corps is not releasing white caps
....through the dam,
Or he stands on a favorite rock that, when not submerged,
Informs him the stream level is just right.
His dislikes include the roar of contractor mowers or the sounds of loud
children at play – especially all those horrid school groups who spill
.....from long yellow limousines.
Upon their arrival, he squawks in flight
Downstream toward the Big Sandy
Where he no doubt has his favorite dead tree limbs
And rocks – perches from which he can
Continue his life – Godlike, beside, but apart.
My other heron may have doubles, triples, or more.
I see him or one of his brothers each time I take my boat
out of its marina slip onto Paintsville Lake.
Yesterday morning I thought I was fishing
In the shallows out near the big island
When a cardinal on a limb, wearing a black mask,
Pointed him out to me.
He was standing tall on an eight-foot tall wooden perch
Put there just for him. The Corps realized
On this island there was an absence of dying timber.
I took out my binoculars, saw him clearly, spooked him,
So he glided to a lay down alongside the water.
The lake was quiet this early Saturday morning –
No overpowered bass boats made wake
after wake Like they do on weekend afternoons
And after quitting time on weekdays.
I kept trolling silently toward him until I could see his eyes,
Wild like a walleye’s.
He saw me unaided while I needed the magnification of binoculars.
I glided too close in, and my heron predictably flew across the island –
Godlike, beside, but apart.