I happened to notice the female yellow-crowned heron in the branches of the tree on the right. We eyed each other as I drifted past. I’d already passed a couple of males upstream. It occurred to me the setting sun might make a nice counterpoint to the bird’s silhouetted form in the branches. So, unusually, I managed to quietly back-paddle with my hands against the current, toward where she was perched. Though she watched me warily, and hopped within the branches a bit, fortunately I didn’t scare her off. As I worked to hold my place paddling with one hand and fumbling for my phone with the other, clouds wafted in front of the golden sun, and I felt further lucky.
I snapped a few photos, let go of resisting the flow, and as I drifted downstream, contentedly absorbed the whole shimmering scene. The vast 60 foot piers of the Elm Avenue Bridge framed it all even as I felt everything (including me) merge into the gorgeous and ever-mysterious unfolding. Gifted beyond words to be part of it all.