I awoke early on this cold, wet, windy and lonely Christmas Eve morning in Tennessee with a strong urge to go to the nearby lake for a sunrise walk. The day was only going to get colder, wetter and lonelier, so I put on my boots and stadium coat, grabbed the dog leash and treat bag and headed to the park.
Walking up the hill I realized that the the clouds and wind were socked in and no rays of sun or delicate pinks would streak the sky. Looking at the lake I noticed something that looked like a crocodile swimming parallel to the path in the grey-black rough water. Knowing that a croc sighting was extremely unlikely, I kept watching until the prehistoric shape was revealed to be two beaver moving a small tree branch.
I turned at the end of the lake and was hit with a blast of wind that reminded me that it was December 24. I quickened my pace, but continued to watch the lake. I was searching. I began to say a prayer to the Divine Mother asking for her protection and guidance today. Suddenly I stopped in my tracks. There she was, patiently waiting for me. She stood like a statue gazing intently at the water, seemingly unaware of my presence. She turned, walked a few steps towards me before taking a stance facing the lake that signaled that she was ready for breakfast. I stayed still, taking in the serenity and presence of the great bird for what seemed like several minutes. The Divine’s message was clear, “You are not alone for I am with you always.”
Over the years I have had many close encounters with Blue Herons. This is why this lake is one of my favorite places, but my heron run ins are not limited to any specific place. I wonder who she is for I truly believe the female herons represent a family member who has passed to the other side. My brother suspects our grandmother who died when our father was a young teen. I suspect her mother, a great grandmother who I barely remember but to whom I have always felt connected.
It does not matter who the heron represents. What matters is noticing and seeing herons, appreciating their presence and beauty and believing they represent an angel that watches over me. What matters is the deep peace and knowing that I am not alone and that I am so loved.