I left work a bit later than normal yesterday and as I cycled home the sun had set behind the hills on the far side of the Teign valley. As I rode along the river road, I noticed ahead of me a large bird following the treeline which traces one of the tributaries of the River Teign. A heron!
As she reached the clearing in the trees, where the cows cross the river, she circled and gently glided down to earth. By the time I cycled past, I could see her dusky blue silhouette set against the dark brown of the riverbank, the graceful curve of her neck, the arch of her shoulders, the fringe of her wingtips and her yellow bill already pointing downwards, ready to pierce the water’s surface. I love the stillness and focus of heron, the graceful poise of the hunter, watching and waiting . . . . never moving until it is time to lightning strke into the water after a fish.
I wanted to go back and watch her, so I circled back around. But by the time I got to the right spot, she had waded further up or down stream and was gone from my view.
At first I felt disappointed, then grateful that I had that series of moments; from riding through the dusk and following her flight and seeing her there in the river. Pleased that I was not so pre-occupied with my thoughts that I wasn’t able to notice the beauty of a heron coming in to land.
All we have are moments, but we can become so caught up in the past or future, our memories or our thoughts or our worries that we forget to simply be in the present and accept the gift of each moment, to be present as our life unfolds.