The end is just the start
February 11, 2012 § 3 Comments
On mornings like this it’s a struggle to get out of the door: the warmth of the duvet, the extra hour’s sleep he could borrow from the night. His wife soft and pliant before she dons her armour.
He’s not given himself chance to give in, though. It’s the only way.
His sleepy legs are carrying him down the field and the steam of his breath hangs in the crisp air. The ground is dusted with a cold hard sugar-frost. He is the only thing moving through this scene.
He wouldn’t have seen it if he didn’t have to stop at the field bottom to lift the twine noose and move the rusting gate aside. The heron is, despite its size, barely visible in the beck, that flash of orange at its beak punctuating plumage as grey as the morning. It might perhaps pivot on those great hinged legs as it darts and forages for food, but mostly it will stand and it will wait, one leg tucked away for later, one leg planted firm amongst the rocks and silt.
The silence is fractured by a car on the bridge above, but a moment later it’s gone and all that’s left is a splash as the heron, wings spreading, lifts itself from the water and pulls up into the sky.
Always alone. Always rooting in these slow wet places, almost out of sight.
When he gets back to the house, an hour and seven miles later, the children will be up and his wife will be pulling the first load of washing out of the machine. The heron will be long gone, off to another quiet creek where it will wait, steadfast, for its next chance.