A Chance Sighting

I was feeling rather aimless yesterday — from the start of the day at work to the meandering afternoon of house chores. At 2, I set off into the woods for a walk, thinking that might calm my restless spirit, but it remained just so.

Instead of going right, I went left. Instead of the familiar path, I followed a little foot track that curved this way and that in the snow. I doubled back to where I started, once, twice, then found my way to the path by the stream and thirsty trees.

Overhead a heron, in graceful and primordial ease, set down onto a pine branch felled in the fall storms. I stopped. Quiet. Watching as she slowly and meditatively scanned the water passing in front of her.

She saw me then and softly walked several feet down the stream, and I followed. We danced this way, in quiet ballet, until a bend in the river I could not pass.

She continued on her way and I on mine — the chance encounter a salve to my rambling mind, now suddenly quiet.


“They are symbols of balance,” writes Animal-Speak author Ted Andrews of Herons, “and they represent an ability to progress and evolve….The long thin legs of the heron reflect that you don’t need great massive pillars to remain stable, but you must be able to stand on your own.”

“When it feeds, it stands in the water, reflecting a connection to the earth – while implying the exploration of other dimensions on the earth (water element). It is important for anyone with a heron totem to explore various activities and dimensions of Earth life. On the surface, this may seem a form of dabbling, but those with heron totems are wonderfully successful at being the traditional ‘Jack of all trades.’

This ability enables them to follow their own path. Most people will never be able to live the way heron people do. It is not a structured way, and does not seem to have stability and security to it. It is, though, just a matter of perspective. There is security in heron medicine, for it gives the ability to do a variety of tasks. If one way does not work, then another will.”

14 thoughts on “A Chance Sighting

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  1. how nice that you were able to become a “heron person” for a while, since your career path seems to demand a mostly structured life! and your phrase “graceful and primordial ease” perfectly captures the heron’s essence…

  2. After a restless waiting period, I finally got Animal-Speak in the mail. I ordered it after reading one of your posts. I’m excited to get into it. Symbols of balance. I like that. Kind of like a Libra, that’s me. I wonder if I am a heron person. I need to crack that book open!
    I just love your writing. (Just as a side bar) ;-)

    1. Animal-Speak is one of my go-to books. It allows great meditative thought on moments we might otherwise consider ordinary. And the symbolism? It’s a wonderful book to always have on hand – enjoy! (and thank you, about the writing)

  3. “primordial ease” … I like that. The heron puts me in mind of a solitary tai chi player, moving in stillness. Over the past few years, the heron would touch down on my watched stretch of Little Crum Creek closer to spring, signalling the new season. But I just saw one yesterday standing still on the banks and stretching its wings.

    1. Aren’t they just sublime? The way they fly, and walk and stand in stillness? Much more graceful than those of us who trod through the world with heavy hand. They are inspiration for sure!

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