Missing (Memory)

Missing (Memory)

I wandered this way one miserable day. Well, the day wasn’t miserable. I was. Agitated, dispirited I stomped more than wandered toward the river.

Frazzled by taking the expected path in every quarter of my life, I splintered off the easy, cleared
woodland path and into hay-scented ferns, under sticky pine branches, around poison ivy. I smelled the river before I saw it. I trudged into mud, caught my slide, and looked up.

A heron looked back. In the clearing, across the river, he crane-posed with his fish in a puddle of light: a great, blue pterodactyl. His calm stilled me. I breathed the water-cooled air, watched him fish, reached for my camera.

I didn’t have my camera.

I went home and made bread and orange juice.

Since that day, the “less-traveled” path has seen more traffic, much of it mine. Armed with my camera, I hope to cross paths with the heron, framed in that perfect light.

More than twenty years ago, a heron posed on the rocks at the edge of the marina outside my dining room window whenever a particular friend was coming to visit. I’d see the heron, bake bread and make orange juice. Without fail, the friend would come along as the bread came out of the oven.

I moved.

My friend died.

I want to get a good look at that heron.

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