Sunday, November 3, 2013

Someone To Watch Over You

When I lived in Ohio, I drove to work about half an hour a day, each way. It was mainly freeway driving, and there were lots of corporate buildings along the way. This meant that there were also big ponds, since all the corporations have to put in an at-hand water supply in case of fires.

Every day I would drive the same route, and almost every day, without fail, a heron would fly across the freeway, right above where I was driving at that exact moment. It wouldn't always be at the same location. It wouldn't always be at the same time of day. Sometimes it would be on the way to work. Sometimes on the way home. Regardless, it was ALWAYS THERE. It was almost as if there was a flock of herons, off stage-right, just waiting for their cue. Oop! There she is! Quick GO! GO! GO! And across it flew.

Something I've noticed about the world; there are a lot of people going through life, but not actually SEEING it. Both my parents instilled in me an avid curiosity about the world around me. Part of that is just, well, NOTICING things. Part of it is not taking things for granted, or becoming so inured to them that they cease to hold wonder. One time I was riding on the Ferry here in Washington, and the view was just beautiful. Mountains in the distance, houses peppering the hills, the downtown skyline in the distance, other watercraft zooming by. There was this man sitting there working on his laptop. He looked like a commuter -- someone that lived on the other side of the water so he took the ferry every day to work downtown. He could have been out on the deck clinging to a rail feeling the wind in his face and smelling the salty fish air, or looking at that spectacular view, or even people watching.  Instead he was sitting at one of the tables inside, typety-typing away at his laptop and not raising his head once. I felt sorry for him, in that moment. He had become so used to the amazingness around him, he didn't even see it. Jaded.

I notice things. Little things. Things that probably a lot of people miss. Maybe it's when someone goes out of their way to do something to make my life a little brighter. Or maybe it's how the sunlight streams through a patch of trees *just so* and it looks like something out of a movie and I expect a Unicorn to step out from between the trees any second. Perhaps it's the way the leaves swirl in our cul de sac like they're playing a huge game of tag and everyone's It. I noticed the Herons. At first, it was a novelty. Wow! Is that a blue heron? Grey heron? No clue, kind of hard to tell while driving at freeway speeds and getting a glancing peek as it flies across overhead. Then, it became almost a ritual. Where will I see it today? When? Which direction will it be flying?  Then, it became.. a comfort. It felt like it was MY heron. It was there, flying over at that precise moment when I was driving under it, just for me. It was watching over me. Or, perhaps Someone sent it to remind me that I was always being watched over.

I was sad about the herons when I moved to the great Northwest. Sure, they have them here, but they're not very common where I live, we get more crows, hawks, seagulls and the occasional bald eagle. I had resigned myself to enjoying the beauty of towering pines and the magic Mt. Rainier for my drive to and from work. And then in happened. One day, on the way to work, my heron flew over. Right across the freeway, right above my car. It happened a couple more times in the months that followed, and then, something new.

There is a couple mile stretch of freeway that I drive through that has a series of on and off ramps going to various places. There's a bunch of light posts strategically placed around this so at night it doesn't become a navigation hazard. Every day for quite a while now, while driving home through that section, I see at least one hawk perched on one of the lights. Today, in that little stretch, I saw three. They're just hanging out, watching for roadkill I assume. I wonder how many people drive under them, every day, and never even look up and see them? Every time I see them, they make me smile. They are my silent drive companions, beautiful, noble, and always watching over me.


  1. Good ju-ju, girl. It's in our blood. Beautiful writing!

  2. Wonderful story. When I go to the Naval Weapons base, there are lots of swampy areas set aside by the Navy as 'untouchable' estuary for the herons. When I go to the base, I go out of my way to pass them. Usually I see one or two herons. One time last year, there were 30-40 in one area. OMG, so beautiful. I know what you're saying......

  3. I'm so enjoying your writing these last few days. This post reminded me of driving across the Tamiami Trail early in the morning. Ground fog, herons in the trees and flying, it was magical and breathtakingly beautiful. We're so lucky to still enjoy the wonder of the world. So glad your herons have found you.