The Heron Reflects

Water goes, mud stays,

grasses stay and go,

sky, going, stays.

Driftwood stays.

Water turns,

mud goes, grasses go,

sky and water go.

Driftwood, turning, stays.


One autumn, I spent many hours stalking a blue heron in a water meadow on the Great Bay, near Stratham, New Hampshire.  When the tide was low, the heron liked to stand in the mud in one of the streams meandering through the marsh. I surprised him one evening, as I walked toward the edge of the deeply carved stream. Thereafter, I made a kind of walking meditation of getting as close to him as I could, which entailed moving so slowly I was almost standing still, letting go of expectation, and practicing the silence of the water meadow in the failing light.  The heron’s name was Driftwood, and this is the poem he would recite to me when I got close enough to him.