Heron of Swan Lake
A long legged fresh water coastal bird
sits still in contrast to the wind blown brush
and smaller birds take flight as if in a rush
or fulfilling their longing to be heard.
Proud member of family named Ardeidae
varieties of Egrets and Bitterns
deeply connected to the Earth’s concerns
below the water minnows swim and play.
To determine species by bend in neck
if one can crawl up close enough to see
before their wing span spreads for instant flight.
Every week I travel out here to check
to crawl closer before they turn to flee
to struggle to bring neck into my sight.
At Swan Lake only lovers left alive
and one Goliath Heron standing strong
so far above the troubles of near song
a dish that swims below the Heron’s dive.
One walk to Lake I met a birdwatcher
who waved and asked why I still wore my scrubs
and points out small bird flying through the shrubs
as I explain Swan Lake literature.
Explains how new lens brings him out in snow
I tell him I work in a Hospital
about the Heron I say yesterday.
A Heron or an Egret he would know
a Snowy Egret living here since Fall
I thank him as I slowly walk away.
The birds who live in Lemmon Valley marsh
here a nearly impossible wetland
among many suburban homes well planned
where Washoe people weathered tumult harsh.
The tribe remained by Lake during Winter
to spend the day with ancestor Heron
or birds of prey who carry carrion
in taller reeds that never leave splinter.
Or maybe not the Heron but the Egret
the Snow Egret passed to me that day
but not a Bittern they are tawny brown.
The elegant majestic perched secret
that stands alone even when skies are grey
to look out over Lakes velvet blue gown.
Maybe a story about migration
unlike the flock that migrates with season
the Heron always migrates for reason
to leave their own after segregation.
Will break into smaller groups at nighttime
to fly to nearest body of water
to capture minnows as a new squatter
or stand alone in marshland muck and grime.
It seems we both migrate to stay alive
to place of employ where I build my home
our lives seem intertwined for this reason.
A fish that swims below the Heron’s dive
escapes to deeper lake away from loam
where both our shadows predict the season.
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