Down the hill, I’m pleasantly surprised to have Main Street and the late November morning quiet to myself for a few blocks. A bit further, crews from three bucket trucks are chatting and milling about, hooking up new electric lines for the long abandoned house coming to life on the corner. I mask up, collect a coffee at the Roasters next Door, and round the block toward the river. Old man Smiley is already there, adjacent the greenway, setting up his tent and setting out his used-bike options. I holler good morning at him. Just then a very large crow apparently feeling neglected barks out a nasally caw as it lands on the edge of a roof nearby.
The water is clear and looks crisp. Pearly tones reflect the unmoving sky and mostly leafless trees with a cool elegance. I stop on the bridge and and feast my eyes on the rippling flows. Two mallards, one with head underwater, tail to the sky, the other acting as look out, are nibbling in the shallow weeds by the low water in the center. The lookout is unsure whether to signal to leave, but since I keep to the bridge, decides I’m no threat.
There’s a calm to the river, a hush to the whole scene, as if nothing is in a hurry this morning. As I wander back across the bridge, the mirror of reflections takes my breath away. The great blue heron is hiding within the bank, on an overhanging limb. A needle in the wondrous river haystack that I’ve learned to spot. I pause, sip my warm joe, and watch its head do slow swivels, as it, in turn, spots fish. It’s too high above the water to spear them, but can’t help but look.
A couple pairs of chatty joggers tread past and disrupt our reverie. Suddenly, the whole morning has been a prelude. The heron stretches its great neck, straightens high. It realizes I didn’t continue across the bridge with the others, and am alone, watching, ready for the solo. It break the stillness, silently launches into a grand, graceful arabesque and with a few powerful wing strokes, floats on the air upstream, disappearing into the backstage haze.