Wednesday 11 June 2014

Good Morning

It's low tide this morning, and down at the estuary the water's bright mirror contrasts with the flat dun of the marshy mud along the shore.  Patches of seaweed, exposed by the receding water, glow improbably green in the morning light, and the herons along the shore are seen in silhouette.

There was a heron fishing right in the middle of the channel by which I stopped to take my picture.  I'd hoped to catch his silhouette paired with its perfect reflection but, just as I lifted my camera, he took wing and - wingtips just barely clearing the surface of the water - flew away.  

He settled a little further out and, apparently feeling he'd put a safe distance between us, resumed his work.  So smooth was his landing and so still his stance that he scarcely rippled the water. Within moments he was rewarded with a silvery fish.

The estuary is remarkably alive; teeming with creatures large and small who take nourishment from the river water and from the constantly replenishing tides.  Many are not visible to me as I stand there; small creatures living in the mud and hidden in the grass, but those small creatures attract larger ones who provide endless theatre for those who choose to remain quiet and still enough to observe them.

On the mud, in the sea grass, and amidst the beds of seaweed small shorebirds burrow busily, prospecting for insects and shell fish.  They often work in large groups, mostly silent because their beaks are busy with other things.  When a threat appears, they rise as if of one mind, wheeling low above the water in a great cloud, moving in perfect concert with one another.

Ducks and geese nest along the banks of the estuary in spring. Their offspring are adolescents now.  Still soft-feathered, they're growing so rapidly that seeing them each day is like watching time lapse photography.  They've lost the downy cuteness they possessed as newborns and are now gangly and long-limbed, but they still follow their mothers in single file, dependent upon them for food, and for lessons in life skills they've yet to acquire.

People tread lightly in this place.  They're here to be sure:  Boats bob at anchor in the quiet waters of the bay and great freighters moor in the deep water beyond.  A road passes along the edge of the bay and, in the village, houses and stores and restaurants all stand with their feet planted in the waters of the bay.  Even so, there is an ancient, timeless beauty here that remains unbothered by our presence.  There are places where people don't walk, where boats don't intrude, where fish and birds and grass and mud continue on as they always have.

I love that.  Those places, with their timelessness, remind me that I can step outside the constraints of time too, put aside my busy-ness and worries for a while and, for at least a moment or two, become a part of the great, eternal whole.  Such peace in that.

Have a wonderful Wednesday, my friends.  Whatever busy-ness your day brings, whatever your worries or cares, I hope you find some moments to put them aside and find some peace and quiet of your own.  Have a joyful day.