There were times I would walk on the dock at Innisfree and look out at the great bowl of Clear Lake. The water would slap at the dock, the tules would sway between the pillars, a wind ruffle small waves. I would hear life everywhere. Bullfrogs in the rushes, ducks chattering as they bobbed up and down, grebes farther, their miniature necks shaped like the Loch Ness Monster until they would dive down and shake their butts like cartoon birds. And once in a blue moon, I would see a heron wading in the tules near the boathouse, a small rickety apartment made from a wooden fishing boat. The birds looking like sorcerers in gray and coal blue feathers.
My Pomo friends have told me stories of beings that live in and near the lake. The Squishy, a creature they could hear rise from the lake when they were children, the Bird Man that appeared to their nephews outside their bedroom when they lived in Clearlake. When the boys described him, the family knew who they were talking about.
My herons would always surprise me, and sometimes, I’d see them more than once while they were hanging out for a week or two. And what a joy to see them cast off from the ground, a different creature even then, more pterodactyl than bird. At times, I have seen them fly low near Rodman’s Slew as I drove along the cutoff.
I have decided I haven’t had enough mornings like this. So much of life gets stuck in the day-to-day of work and of “reality,” Amazon rainforest producing more carbon than oxygen, quagmires around the world, the moral sickness of so many politicians. We all need healing, from trauma, from traumas generations past, from the grinding down of our souls with media and the white noise of the 21st century. A glimpse of a heron is a miracle to me.