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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. 



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