For their heronness, you know what I mean? The way they are long, and thin, and still, and elegant, and shaggy, and awkward, and not at all awkward, and lean, and gangly, and knobby-kneed, and bluegraybrown all at once, and slow and dinosauric in the air but liquid-quick with their bladed beaks. I never yet saw a heron that did not instantly amaze and astound and confound and provoke something very much like awe. Is the divine spark in the heron? Yes. In its ferocious murder of the frog, and startling-quick gobbling of the frog, leaving only one webbed foot wriggling for a last moment in the world it just left? Yes, somehow. In the big red-ruddered hawk who descends upon the heron like a burly nightmare and tears its breast from its spindly bones? Yes, somehow. In all of this is the Breath, the Imagination, the voice that said I am who I am from a fiery bush, long ago. In the beauty of the animals who grew to be herons and hawks over millions of years of experimentation. In the wiry wave of reeds in which this story was written before my eyes one day on a river headed to the sea. In the mink and the crows who will also eat the rest of the heron. In the musing man standing hidden in the alder thicket; he too is here fishing for mysterious life for a moment until a dark hawk comes for him; but meanwhile he knows enough to sing his companions in the wild miracle of the worlds we share. And so: amen.
- Brian Doyle