... with due respect to the loons ...
The great blue heron, so still, is like
a standing piece of driftwood, silver-gray cyan,
like when wood sees the pond water too long
and then, pushed up by a frost heave,
sun-bleaches and molders, gathering color.
Her neck feathers are fine grain exposed by years,
the pith and heartwood interweaving,
immobile, strong, fixed quiet to watch.
But when the neck coils down to spring
and wings open, stretching out tips
to catch sun rays in between,
you can feel the air compress
and watch her rise
as if a cord had lifted her from the granite
that lies half sunk beneath the glassy surface.
In my time I too
hope to rise that way,
fast and light and lifted,
not like the loons, who cry and flap,
and beat the water,
needing their slow, heavy ascent
to raise red eyes over the treeline.