Egret on a Warm Winter’s Day

He stands in the creek with his back to me. I do not count.

He is always here.

I watch him avidly, never taking his presence for granted.

We are of two worlds yet in the same place.

He is.

I yearn to be.

Human, I mistake presence for companionship

and give him thoughts.

He is always in the water.

Nearby I write

or read

or contemplate.

We are each alone.

He is of the creek and sky.

Lifting, wings wide, banking, he takes my breath

and forgets to give it back.

It is never expected.

Landing as if he never left.

I wonder why

and wonder if there is a why.

I am of something more amorphous and for me to know.

He brings me secret truths, a mystical messenger.

Intuition. He counts.

The wind blows. It brings the smell of death.

There, along the bank, a turtle gone.

Turkey vultures will eat it. They come in threes. Heads bobbing and close as if blessing the feast.

Nature is a bounty. She has her way.

My father taught me the names of birds and their purposes.

Kingfishers were his favorite. After he died I saw one up here, out of place.

And time.

I wondered, was it real? Or just his ghost providing comfort.

Just?

I love him. I love him still. Death ends life, not love.

My best friend died just before we turned 21. She had an Irish Setter, Amar. It means red in Arabic, at least that’s what she said. Why wouldn’t I believe her?

We watched phosphorescent waves roll against the sand packed shore and stars shoot across the dark sky. And told secrets.

I still wonder why she died. I mean, I know the cause but why?

She was still a girl.

I loved her. I love her still. Death can’t diminish love.

We rode horses along the shore. Their hooves kicked up a cooling spray. They ran hardest when we turned toward home. My auburn hair slapped and stung my skin.

My horse was red.

Amar.

Dearg.

Rojo.

Our sweat mingled. His breath became mine. The fusion so perfect I’d become afraid because

I got lost.

Ego is a fragile thing and Self, harder to know.

The egret takes me on flights of fancy to visit with the dead. It is his special gift.

I miss them terribly.

Now I desire getting lost in breath or sweat and life because

I no longer fear it.

It frees me.

The egret’s white wings remind me of a blank page

or a day, unplanned

or an afterlife

if there is one.

We will all know it, or not

in a second or a lifetime.

I am in no hurry, now, to know the things I once thought I couldn’t live without.

I prefer the moment.

The surprise.

The egret watches as I gather my things,

He never moves. I do not count and

he is home.

The sky here is wider, higher, bluer than anywhere else. People always notice that.

We all have our purpose and our way.

There is a rhythm and a peace in that.

I won’t see the Kingfisher again, not here.

Or my father.

Or my best friend.

But they are all with me, in me, through me.

On my blank page.

In my open heart.

And always, always

in my stories.

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