Monday, August 3, 2009

HERON ON THE ROCKS

Blue heron on the rocks. Sounds like a drink you’d order in an eco-bar. Some little hole-in-the-wall place in the bowels of a dank city, no sign outside, known only to the cognoscenti, where those too long deprived of woods and waters and fresh air come to drown their troubles.
The pinups on the wall would be posters of mountains and wildflowers and smog-free blue sky. The jukebox might play such tunes as “Burbling Stream,” “Wind Through the Pines,” and ”Bullfrogs On the Bayou.”
A place of rescue and refuge where a man, wearied and numbed by the concrete and glass and crowded sidewalks, feeling like a rat lost in a maze after the day’s grind of traffic and all the buying and selling and deal-making, could stumble in, blink a time or two, then belly up to the bar and order: “Gimmie a blue heron on the rocks…and make it a double!”
There have been many occasions during the various incarnations of what I euphemistically call my career, when I have been that drained and bewildered town-trapped man. Had such a watering hole been available, I would have become a daily patron…
Yes, dear folks, this is the real me. No need to smoke leaves from those funny weeds that grow up the road. Just put me out in the yard with the dog early in the morning, before I’ve yet achieved my usual caffeine buzz, and my squirrelly brain is apt to go skating off on some bizarre, fantastical tangent simply because I glanced up the river and saw a familiar feathered fisherman standing patiently at the head end of the island.
The rising sun was just brushing its warm light across the water. Tendrils of fog still swirled in the shadows. The nearby world was green and soft and filled with a comfortable quiet broken only by the ringing lilt of a Carolina wren in the thicket by the driveway.
As I watched, the heron stepped onto a rock, then stepped back down into the shallow water. And kept he kept repeating this over and over—up, down, up down. I wondered if the bird was undecided about getting his feet wet? Or was he just acting like I often do in the mornings?
I understand such early-morning indecisiveness because I regularly find myself vacillating over the most mundane matters…do I want one handful of raisins in my oatmeal or two? It’s as if my brain, not yet fully committed to reasoning or reaching a decision, gets stuck in dithering mode…should I pour my coffee into the blue mug or the red one?
I’m not even gong to ask if anyone else has a similar affliction. But trust me, there are often times just after I arise when I stand in the kitchen and have to ask myself—what am I trying to think about?
Fortunately, a half hour and a cup or two of coffee and I’m up to speed, everything functioning as well as can be expected. And apparently, something finally kicked in with the heron.
After standing immobile for perhaps a quarter hour, looking upstream and down, but never into the water, the gangly slate-colored bird shook himself and seemed ready to get down to business. He hunched and began stepping slowly upstream—careful, his posture alert and coiled, ready to strike, as he was peered intently into the murky shallows.
Sometimes, the best fishing of the day comes with the burgeoning light. As a fellow fishermen, I understand such matters from long experience on many streams. Just as I understand that mornings on the water are best enjoyed in solitude, without an audience.
I turned, whistled softly to the dog, and we headed back inside.

30 comments:

Gail said...

Hi Grizz-

I simply delight in you, you words and pictures, your ease at self analysis and your raw honesty.

I love the images of a bedraggled worker ordering a 'blue heron on the rocks' and how you tied it all in to your world today.

The indecisive moments you wrote about, especially in the early morning? _ I am so there. This morning I stood in the kitchen deciding if I should spray my 'Hope' tree or feed the birds and critters first - it was a HUGE dilemma for a few minutes. The 'Hope' tree won. :-) Then, I was hungry and Idecided on a waffle. But it was the topping for the waffle that stumped me. Syrup? Jam" Cinnamin and sugar? I decided on the sugar and cinnamin. But is was no easy decision. Phew. And how the heck do you spell "cinnamin"? If you knew how many times I have re-typed that word trying to get it right. Good Lord almighty!!!!

And there you have it. :-)
Love Gail
peace.....

Wanda said...

Your Blue Heron photo looks like a
perfect sculptured statue in life like setting in a museum.

You start and end your posts so perfectly...well everything in between is perfect too, so I don't really know my point...other than it's perfect!
Your perfect line..."what am I trying to think about?" made me LAUGH...
I believe it's also known as a senior moment...not that you're old...just saying!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gail…

First off, it's "cinnamon"…and I know this, not because I'm smart or a good speller (HA!) but because I've misspelled it and had to look it up a thousand times over the years. It finally seeped into my brain via osmosis. I still don't know my own cell phone number—that I have written handily in ink on the back of the phone.

You can teach and old dog to read if you're really patient and the dog lives long enough…

Second, morning muddles are my standard operating procedure. Just the other morning I found myself standing in front of the stove holding an egg I'd taken from the refrigerator…and I wasn't quite sure whither I intended to scramble it, or sit on it and try to hatch it.

And I actually enjoy self-analysis because I'm always in the mood for a good laugh.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Wanda…

How did you figure it out? I didn't think anyone would ever realize I was taking photos of a stuffed heron!

As to what you call my "senior moments," this my indeed be the case…I've been having them since I was a senior in high school. (Which was back in the days when you only needed the fingers on one hand to count to ten.)

KGMom said...

Hey--I've been in that bar too--funny, I didn't see you.
Anyway--maybe the heron was waiting for the fish to wake up.
Which poses the question--do fish need caffeine also?
It is a great shot of the heron, though.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Feathered fisherman - I like it!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

KGMom…

Do fish need caffeine…hummmmmmmm…

Is that a slyly put koan?

Do I need more caffeine to come up with a witty answer?

Nope.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Weaver…

I wish I could take credit for this turn of phrase.

But I've heard it used by others, applied to herons and kingfishers and birds of prey such as osprey and bald eagles, and have employed it myself for years. So…t'isn't mine, but only borrowed.

Bernie said...

Hi Grizz, reads like we all have a senior moment now and then. I so enjoyed your descriptive moments on arising....love the picture of the blue heron and have possibly seen KGMom at the bar....ordering a double....love this and as usual always find good information as well as a chuckle while reading your post...Have a wonderful day my friend.....:-) Hugs
PS: Wanda really knows you don't take pictures of stuffed Herons in museums....

Carolyn H said...

Hmm, that blue-heron-on-the-rocks sounds like kind of a frou-frou drink to me. The kind that you are likely to drink on vacation and that comes with a little umbrella.

I see it as a vodka drink with organic blueberry juice, perhaps.

Carolyn H.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Bernie…

I'm not sure about Wanda…I think she has a herd of stuffed deer she keeps photographing! Takes one to know one.

But thank you for your nice words, and glad you found a chuckle or two in there. KGMom and I both might have been in that joint, it's just that you mistook me for a stuffed bear.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Carolyn…

You're thinking of a Parrot Alexander, or a Finch Sunrise…no, that's made with orange juice; maybe a Parula Martini or a Flamingo Gimlet. Those would have umbrellas.

A Blue Heron on the rocks would be the preferred drink of trout fishermen—blueberries and vodka if you're a northcountry trout man, huckleberries if you chase brookies in the Southern Highlands. Muskie fisherman would just want a shot of Old Canvasback, straight up…and keep 'em comin'.

KGMom said...

Isn't the answer--yes. They just need to add water?

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

KGMom…

Only if they can get by with instant.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Wheee! I liked this one!

"dithering mode"

Now I finally have a name for my fog of indecision. Ususally not about an important matter, it's trivial things. My ditheing mode ALWAYS kicks in when I'm handed a menu. I cannot choose a meal from a menu without waffeling for qite some time. Ask Art- it makes him crazy!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Lynne…

Ha! I've eaten out with ladies like you…

"Ummmmmm, do I want the Neapolitan Chicken or the Beef Avingnon?"

Wavering over a menu, hesitant, tentative, caught in the clutches of quandary so deep that the long-suffering waiter is standing in a darkened corner by the kitchen, holding a knife to his throat.

"Or, ummmmmm, let's seeeee…maybe I'll try the Pork Marseilles…or, ummmmmm—"

At which point your companion slams his own menu on the table, gives you a baleful stare, and says, "Just order what you did last time…the Happy Meal!"

(I'm with Art on this one.)

Penny said...

I like to dither too. I found your photo of the blue heron interesting as here in Oz we have blue herons too, not quite the same but similar, guess they have different latin names but ours sounds rather like yours as well, they do a lot of standing around.

Wanda said...

Do you think my friend Bernie thought that you thought I was serious?...The shadows, the background, the water, the light on the leaves...just everything made your photo of the Heron a perfect photo...

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Penny…

Our great blue herons mostly stalk along through the shallows, or stand and wait for minnows to come within range…and they're pretty effective at their jobs. I have them here near the cottage all the year around—and catching fish during the winter is not something I'd want to try and survive on.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Wanda…

Nahh, don't think so. I hope she knew we were just kidding. We were kidding, right?

(Okay, now come on, you can tell me…I'm pretty sure no no else is listening, those are stuffed deer you keep taking photos of, right?)

Jain said...

Terrific writing, Scribe.

Wanda said...

Just the little ones!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jain…

Thank you…but why are you up at 4:17 a.m.? Hunting that screech owl?

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Wanda…

Ha! I knew it!

(Now, we won't tell Bernie.)

Jain said...

Unidentified critters woke me up. Possibly creatures with 6 legs, but that's as far as I could get on my ID. Never did get back to sleep.

Ear plugs tonight.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jain…

Well, if it's any consolation, I woke up at just after 4:00 a.m. myself this morning, probably because of a storm moving in from the west—though it took nearly a half hour before I actually heard even the most distant growl of thunder. So maybe it was a drop in barometric pressure. But I stayed awake until after 6:00. But I don know exactly how you probably feel now.

Six legged creatures…ummm…possibly a pair of three-legged dancing mice?

Jain said...

Dancing mice, tee hee.

Reminds me of a dark song I like:
A pair of three-legged dogs remind me that you're not around,
Because they got six feet between them, and you're six feet under the ground.

It's twisted but it's funny. By The Fiftymen.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jain…

Never heard of the Fiftymen…but I'll look 'em up. Sounds like my kida group!

Like their verse!

Kathiesbirds said...

Excellent writing! I often get caught with the whole, which-mug- do-I-want-to-use-this-morning thing too, though often mine contains tea instead of coffee.
~Kathie

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Kathiesbirds…

Glad to hear someone else suffers from this malady. I switch back and forth between coffee and tea, which doesn't in the least alter my tendency toward morning muddling.

I also frequently catch myself standing in front of the refrigerator holding the door open and having no idea what I'm looking for…if anything! If these are "senior moments" I've been having them all my life—but they usually only occur in the morning, before that infusion of caffeine.

If you figure out a cure…let me know.