Monday, January 19, 2009

The Heron

One day this fall, I was walking with Jude on my back in a backpack. We were walking by a favorite little stream near our house. The sound of the water rushing over the rocks is so soothing. Whenever we walk there, I look down the steep bank to watch the water twist and swirl while I listen.

I noticed a heron down in the stream, and I was surprised that it had not flown away. Herons don’t usually allow you to get so close. I pointed out to Jude that there was a heron down in the stream, and then I saw why the heron had not flown away. Its foot was caught in something.

Without even thinking, I took Jude off my back and stumbled down the bank with him. I placed Jude at the edge of the stream in a safe place, and splashed quickly across and up the stream to the heron.

The whole time I was mentally telling the heron, “It’s okay. I’m going to help you.” When I got to the heron, I discovered that its foot was caught in a large metal trap. I tried to figure out how to release the trap, but I couldn’t. I told the heron that I would get help. I splashed back across the stream, scooped up Jude, and ran home.

John and I rushed back with a blanket. John released the trap and the heron sort of fell over not wanting to put weight on its leg. John wrapped it in the blanket and we took it back up to the van.

I sat with the heron in my lap wrapped in the blanket. It was breathing heavily and blood dripped from its cut toes. I tried to focus on my own breathing, slow and steady, and visualized love and healing energy pouring over the both of us.

We were able to find a wildlife rehabilitator to take the Heron. She was amazed that the heron had not tried to attack us with its very sharp beak.

And I wondered what was that heron all about. My own health issues were significant, and I couldn’t help but think that the heron symbolized something. How was I trapped? What could I learn from the heron? Herons traditionally symbolize self-reliance and aggressive self-determination. Without question these are traits that I normally possess although my declining health had allowed both of these qualities to weaken. I felt like I couldn’t do anything anymore on my own. I couldn’t even rescue the heron on my own. On the other hand, I was determined to find the answer to my health problems on my own. I spent hours researching every disorder from cancer to intestinal parasites trying to find the answer to why my health was declining and I was getting nowhere. Maybe my own self-reliance was the trap.

Well, I never really resolved all these questions nor have I completely understood why the heron came into my life when and how it did. But today, I received an email about the heron’s release. Just looking at the pictures gave me goosebumps. I definitely feel like my heart is flying with that heron. I have returned to a new state of health and I am also gaining my life back. Maybe like the heron, I will find that I have new terrain to explore…

"There is an art, or rather a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss." ~Douglas Adams, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

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