Thursday, 5 June 2008

heron habitat

it's raining on long island, soft and soaking, big drops falling from the tall trees, splashing... damp and cool on my exposed skin. warm, almost steamy... i am not in scotland.

this afternoon herself drove us to the freeport "nautical mile". i was pleasantly surprised. the wooden boardwalk extended out over the swift rising tide. swirls of green swept past, small, living, moving islands, growing worlds of seaweed and vivid green algae slipping silent beneath the bridge.
the slap of the current pushing past, intent on somewhere else. careless of our presence. the afternoon still and waiting, a quietness broken with the occassional mournful seabird's call. so we sat... herself and i, watching and waiting.
the heron landed with the grace of his species, white wings outspread, wide and beautiful... breaking with the elegance of a skinny, long legged fish hunter. he waded the shallows, searching, scrawny neck outstretched...
to do that which a heron is born to do. quick as a flash... scoop and swallow, watch that small fish, moving down his throat, heron swallow style.

the man stopped...
"this is not good" he muttered, "tides rising too fast".
well yeah... how fast should the tide rise anyway? he had wisdom to share and we were the lucky participants, the available and therefore chosen audience to attend his discourse.
tides rising, weather changing, fisherman's tales, local knowledge shared with strangers. shark catching competitions.
sharks?? hey man!
"yeah... 21, 23 miles that-a-way plenty shark's. catch 'em, bring 'em in, weigh them. dollar prizes, a thousand, maybe more."
time for me to spin tales of wild coast sharks, hammer heads running, reels screaming, sharks threshing, sharks harpooned and blood running on the rocks. memories of long ago... sun beating, hot on white sands, shark teeth necklaces. crayfish suppers and sunsets, young bodies, burned brown, hot passion and cool water.

the fisherman left for a drink... well...
maybe another drink! herself and i wandered wide eyed back to the car, renewed, refreshed... paradise in the midst of strip malls.