Things we love about the cottage: Great blue herons

Great blue heron

It is magic to come across a great blue heron. Perhaps you’re taking a walk or canoeing around the lake, quietly taking in the scenery, when you come upon a bay and see a heron, all spindly legs and surprised-looking eyes, waiting with the utmost patience for the movement of a fish before it snaps it up, lightning fast.

The power of a heron is to bring on absolute silence. Whenever I’ve come upon one, no matter how many people I’m with, we go quiet, still, at peace. It becomes a waiting game. Our breathing slows and we settle into steady feet and a feeling of centeredness that only being in nature can provide. How long can we remain unnoticed, unthreatening? How long can we exist in the presence of something so spectacular?

The heron, we know, could stay there all day without moving more than its observant eyes.

But a snap of a twig, a movement too fast, a whisper too loud, and in a flash, the heron takes flight, 6 feet of wings carrying it effortlessly just above the water’s surface.

The moment ends. We exhale; shake the stillness from our shoulders.

But even once the heron’s flown, the silence seems to stick.