Of Herons and Feather Dusters

Watching blue herons brings me a great sense of peace and serenity. They are the most graceful creatures, all slender, curved lines and elegant, muted colors. Catching a glimpse of a blue heron’s silhouette, I am struck by the beauty in the simple lines of its tall spindly legs, smooth gray-blue feathers, and long regal beak. Standing in water, the heron exudes stillness and calm, but stretching its wide, powerful wings in flight, the heron is pure grace and superiority, a sight of perfection. One day this summer I saw a heron standing so deep in the water, its legs were not visible, and facing the shore so I could not see its beak. It looked like a feather duster. After minutes of watching this strange, ungainly creature, the heron turned its head towards me and stepped into shallower water, regaining its natural grace. I was oddly pleased to see the bird I consider to be the epitome of grace looking so ludicrous. It reminded me that life is a matter of perspective; if I think of myself as a feather duster, and others as herons, then I should learn to look at myself from a different angle. Another lesson: the most graceful or successful person you know has his or her feather duster moments, more than you would expect. And more importantly, the people you think of as irritating or incompetent feather dusters have their moments of grace as well.

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