Slow down and paddle

On a summer morning that promises to be the new California norm–too hot, I arrive at the side of a lake with my kayak. There’s a bit of a wetland between a creek and a man-made lake that functions to manage water flows between a two dams on the American River in Sacramento, California. There he is, just as I’d hoped. A Great Blue Heron. I’d been seeing him from afar on many of the treasured mornings when I come here to glide across water, watching, slowing down time, and feeling peaceful.

They’re patient, these herons. Often, they stand so still–waiting. They can teach me about patience, endurance and more patience. They seem to have a little faith…that something tasty will show up. It’s early, before most humans arrive. Except me, not liking humans any more than he does.

He’s cautious. I’m still but two other humans have arrived. He flies off into the rising sun.

I know where he’s going, somewhere close, up Willow Creek. After awhile, morning coffee in hand between paddling, I turn up the creek. Silently. There he is. He watches the water, I watch him.

I’m still. He’s more still. I’m relaxed, he’s intense. He sees something, stealth hunter, grabs a luscious crawdad and keeps munching until he swallows. Really? What does that feel like? Herons sometimes suffer from over optimism, and choke to death.

I’ve used herons in my work. Here, shown on one of two 2,000 pound concrete and mixed media sculptures in Fremont Park, Sacramento. on 16th between P & Q.