I’ve only had a deep and direct eye contact with a Blue Heron once.  It was shortly after Mom died and I was spending a lot of time walking along the Colorado Riverfront Trail.  I was near the bend where I had recently tossed half a bouquet of flowers into the river as a small memorial to Mom.  I took the other half of the flowers home to place in a vase on my kitchen table.
     Listening to the river that day, I looked to my left to see a Great Blue Heron standing tall and confident by the river’s edge.  She turned her head and looked at me- a direct, assured acknowledgement of my loss.  In one look there was a serene confidence expressed before she lifted off in magnificent flight, soaring down- river.   It was unmistakable- she knew and told me so.
     I think of that moment- of clarity as deep knowing conveyed without words from another creature. I’m reminded of it on days like these when bike rides along the riverfront trail and walks at Connected Lakes serve up more heron encounters than I have known before.  And then on my last day of school at the community college, one flew right over my car as I turned left toward the college, meeting at the corner.  Yes, one could say its a boon year for herons, but, I always know its a sign from her- a small note of knowing, a reminder of presence.
     Herons represent diversity just by their ability to move through elements.  A kind of liminal quality is assigned to them as they move from earth to land to water.  Herons have the ability make these transitions and maintain stability.  They speak of transition…and what is death if it isn’t the great transition.
     According to Native Traditions, herons represent self- determination, self- reliance.  They have the ability to progress and evolve.  They symbolize standing on their own  They may sit while the rest of us lose patience.  Individuals who have the characteristics of Blue Heron need to follow their heart rather than the prompting of others.
     If that doesn’t describe me, I don’t know what does.


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