HERON ON THE DOCK OF THE BAY
By Lu Sobredo
At early morning twilight—
that magical time before sunrise,
a white and gray silhouette
sweeps gracefully across the waters
of Richardson Bay landing silently
on the dock not too far from me.
Over the years, I’ve noticed
the beak at the end of his elongated neck
had grown an orange tint.
His stance, stately with eyes fixed
at something in the water,
I’d say, an unsuspecting prey.
I’ve been witness to this ritual often
for years, almost sixteen
but who’s counting.
Perhaps, I count every now and then
the number of steps it takes to reach
as close to the beauty
not many human eyes have seen.
Each time, it has become our game
I wonder how close
to his space on the dock he would allow
my intrusion, and to what end?
After more than a decade
would I finally gain a feathered friend?
Sixteen years is long for playing
hard to get between woman and bird.
Although, I must say
the distance has been reduced,
the physical distance between us
before flying away.
Oh, the exquisite flight he takes,
takes my breath away
as he aims in milliseconds for his prey.
The cycle of life, nature’s ecosystem
stirs an inner curiosity.
I never tire of our dance,
the woman and bird in a seeming contract:
he feeds on nature’s wealth
in the coastal waters all the while
the moment feeds this human soul.
Convinced, yes I am, that my heron is a “he.”
With his pair of long dark legs,
what else could he be?
Legs stretch out parallel to the sea
when in flight as in a feathery arabesque.
For a prima ballerina no less, a source of envy.
In late spring or early summer, he puts on
a show. He rivals October's Blue Angels over
San Francisco Bay—fighter pilots soaring in the air.
Their other-worldly skills on display. Roaring engines
and the shapely smoke trailing against the skies
are a close match to the heron’s dance—flying
three-hundred-and-sixty circles around
a carefully constructed nesting ground.
The resident heron calls loudly
and fights for his chosen one.
I may only be an observer on the dock
but do not blame a woman
for falling for this act of love
watching the mating ritual above,
the grandiose movement of wings,
Oh, the joy and excitement it brings.
I’m reminded by well-meaning friends
to stop and smell the roses. And I do.
But who could ignore this gorgeous creature?
Like clockwork, my enigmatic heron sits
on the dock of the Bay.
And like an adoring friend
I stand in awe a safe distance away
How could anyone grow tired of him?
Certainly, not this woman. Never. Not me.
(A whimsical view of the resident heron at our marina in the San Francisco Bay.)
Poem ©Lu Sobredo
Photo ©James Sobredo
Note: The photo was a gift from James to our friend Sharon Jarvis who had it framed for her wall.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED