A magnificent discovery presented itself in the woods across the way today. I find cool stuff in the woods all the time, but this really was a scene splendid in appearance. For weeks, marking the bud of a garden-fresh Michigan Spring, fleets of Great Blue Herons have been gliding over the house and greening fields. You can't mistake their distinctive, regal forms against the sky - the slaty feathers, seven-foot wingspan and lanky, banking bodies, swooping in and making majestic landings out on the front lawn. In native cultures, the high-flying Eagle is honored as the celebrated messenger traveling to and from The Creator. But watch a Blue Heron ascending mightily out of a bog with breakfast in beak, and you'll know that when it comes to lofty dignity, these birds can hold their own.
The find was a Rookery or more specifically a Heronry, a breeding ground for Herons in the wetlands formed by the Black River. After startling a few up from the pond that flanks my front drive, ripping out in the early morning with the music up, I tried creeping down a couple times on foot in hopes of capturing a photo or two. After a few unsuccessful attempts, I followed all the raucous flapping to a small island in the woods, the upper limbs of its trees speckled with almost a dozen nests. This was and is a small colony of Great Blue Herons, common in wetlands over most of North America and Central America, as well as the Caribbean and the Galápagos Islands. Although nests are often reused for many years and herons are socially monogamous within a single breeding season, individuals usually choose new mates and new nests each year. The males arrive at colonies first and settle on or build out bulky stick homes from which they coo and court females.
Busy now branding my place, I had the creative thought that The Blue Heron makes for an excellent symbol and good luck on several levels. A solitary feeder, Herons are often ponderous in their hunting efforts, weighing in the mind with thoroughness and great care, standing in stillness for lengthy stretches. Herons are also symbolic of trusting one's innate wisdom. On the biz side of things, The Higher Haven's initial Summer 2016 soft opening is made up of one-day Sunday retreats, gatherings that offer Yoga, Creative Meditation Instruction and Ceremonial Purification Rituals. Said plan has us currently looking to connect with teachers who'd be happy to make the short jaunt here with their "flock" to co-lead a mounting spiritual journey. The initial offer is a generous one, in hopes of forging strong, professional ties with great yoga teachers and other teachers of movement. If you are one or know one please get in touch to discuss being a part of The Blue Heron Yoga Program. Of course you'd have to bear down and endure a day or overnight in the lovely countryside of southwestern Michigan, only miles and minutes from the lake. If that sounds of interest, we are eager to connect.
Flying back to my lovely birds, I was actually utterly stressed out when I first found the Heronry. Working to get this place rolling over the last year and half since has pushed me beyond at times... and then pushed me a little further. But now, when it's all a little much (as it still often is), I head across the street to be treated to images of the Pleistocene era or some other ancient epoch. With the shadowy forms of Pterodactyl-like beings floating out over the fields, then returning to their twiggy shelters, bills clenching food or fortifying sticks, I'm reminded of life's abundance, and realize that most of my blowups and proverbial fires are becoming tamer and tamer, usually resolving themselves by day's end. But If I catch myself in doubt, as I still do, I bring to mind the power of the neighborhood Blue Crew, visualizing a place where little is forced or fretted over, and all appears to unfold beautifully, naturally moment by moment.