Slumming in the City

May 19, 2009

Movement outside the bathroom window. Peering through the blinds, I see a heron atop the neighbor’s garage. It’s scoping out the goldfish in our small backyard pond. Some are so large they’re often mistaken for koi. All are oblivious to the harbinger of death gazing upon them.

To my eye, herons are stately creatures when viewed in the wilds. Their bluish gray finery, including a beard of long feathers beneath a dagger-like beak, creates an aura of  sophistication. But in the midst of the city, they look out of place. Especially this heron, slumming at nature’s corollary to a fast-food drive-thru, content to spear and devour McGoldfish.

“Hey!” I shout through the open window. The heron looks at me and takes to the sky, spindly legs folding up like wheels of a jetliner taking off. Maybe it will fly north to the Columbia River a few miles away and find a meal more worthy of its bearing.