“And … there it is” is a generic phrase my son says, but it always has some context. Watching a toddler fall over, waiting for the cry, “and … there it is”. Starting a conversation with me on a contentious issue, requesting calm and when I lose it, “and … there it is”. You get the drift!
Turning into my neighbourhood the other day, I noticed the white faced heron had returned. I went home briefly and despite the rain, came back with my camera only to find the heron had left, so I waited. Soon the storm passed over. A burst of sunlight and activity made the little pied cormorant turn its head 360 degrees in alarm, or so it seemed. The little white corellas, squawking loudly, flew en masse from tree top to tree top. They sensed what was about to happen better than I did. The ducks, perhaps, had seen it before and continued with their calm glide.
The white faced heron returned, this time with a companion, each with legs stretched to a point and large wings that flapped in slow motion. They landed lightly, sauntered away from each other with nonchalance, then turned and faced each other in a genteel, formal way. To my surprise they went through a dance ritual, much like I’ve seen brolgas do in the north of the State. The white heron instinctively joined forces with the cormorant, the white faced herons were on the same team for a brief moment too. A stand off? I wondered whether I was witnessing a fight for territory. Soon, one heron walked away. The other strutted along the edge of the pond, dipped his head in water and flung droplets into the air. A showman! He then gave chase. It was a few minutes of display that seemed to go on for hours. In a blink, they flew out of the pond again, just the way they flew in. Moments later, only one returned. It stalked the opposite edge of the pond’s perimeter staring down the white heron and cormorant. It reminded me of something I learned in childhood.
I had a nanny who I loved dearly. She was much like the heron. Slender, strong, and grey. She had wisdom. I recall her saying, when making friends with someone, ask yourself, what kind of adversary they would make. Watch how they treat their enemies. Do they exploit their friends? Be discerning. Watch what they do in friendship, but be more watchful what they do in anger. Anger is when people are most transparent.
The grace and elegance of these birds in love or war, was beautiful to witness. Alone, victor or vanquished, the solitary bird was mesmerising. As my son would say, “and … there it is”.
I am learning lessons at the knee of Mother Nature. May you do too.
Until next time,
a dawn bird
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