Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Sighting II

This morning I set out on my walk, pausing at the corner to stretch.  Forward bend, triangle pose, side stretch, plank -- my asanas are rusty at this hour.  In these few minutes the early morning shadows recede.  As I sink into warrior pose, every damp blade of grass ignites into a filament chrystalline radiance.  The lawn shimmers.

This seems to be a good omen on a big day.  First, it's my mother's 76th birthday -- Happy Birthday Shirl the Pearl!  Second, we are driving with Meredith, my oldest daughter, to help her move into her first post-grad apartment in Boston.  This is my baby, starting her career.   In truth, she's a very capable young woman but my intention for this morning's walk is to reconcile myself to the truth that she's leaving home and not for a dorm room.  My babe. 

My favorite spot along my walking circuit is a friend's backyard dock, on the 1865 (I think that's the right year) Resevoir.  I meditate or just gaze out over the expanse of water, rimmed with lush green this time of year.  I soak up the peace.  And quiet. 

This morning there is a gaggle of geese hanging out in the tangle of fallen trees in the shallows over to my left.  Adults and ...is there a name for baby geese?  They aren't really babies, they were born awhile ago.  They're toddlers, I'd guess.

So I'm scanning the shoreline but not too closely because I've learned that the heron is all but impossible to spot, the way she blends in with her surroundings.  So I settle in, cross legged on the dock and compose myself for this day of parting from my daughter.  Endings and beginnings intersecting in my heart like these overlapping concentric circles rippling outward at my feet.

So, how will I manage today, and how will my beloved manage, leaving his first born in the big city?  With a sigh, I watch the geese, setting sail, a fleet of 15.  As I'm watching them, I spy the distinctive profile of the great blue heron, standing on the ground

I scan my memory:  have I ever seen her on firm ground?  I once saw a heron standing on a frozen pond.  A usual spot for perching is the pipe spanning the pond.  I once saw her land on a high branch, surveying her kingdom. And of course in the shallows.  But I have never seen her on solid ground.

She is standing where a dirt path ends at the water.  She takes a few long-legged steps, disappearing behind a clump of cattails.  It's like she slipped through a portal into the shadowy woods.  And then she comes out the other side.  Her long, S-shaped neck scrunches as she appears to regard the parade of geese out on the sunny, glassy lake.  As if taking a cue from them, she unfurls her great wings, elongates her neck and takes flight. 

I am surprised that the first beat or two of her flight are a bit ungainly -- that leap from earth into air.  But in seconds she is effortlessly gliding low over the water.  As her wings rise and fall, their tips meet their mirror images in the water.  In the down beat, her wings appear to touch their reflections. 

As above, so below.

As I follow her flight I see she's meeting a friend across the water.  They both land in the rushes, and I give up trying to discern them.  Like spies on a mission, they have seamlessly blended into their surroundings.

So perhaps I am fit to leave my child on her own.  Perhaps I have an inner "firm ground" to stand on as she takes flight.


  1. just read "Sighting II" for the first time: nice. It summons up an awareness of the freedom of independence our young first born has established in herself; something remarkable that, as parents, we can admire from a distance. I see now how you managed it. mw

  2. I don't know how I've only just come across these, but I like them :) beautiful writing, Mom!

  3. Thanks Mere. As you can see, you inspired this one!


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