Great Blue Heron: Patient Hunter

“Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate, and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed.”

-Paulo Coelho

The Great Blue Heron is one of my favorite river personalities.

Sometimes we play hide and seek the whole time I’m paddling up and back down the river. Of course, the heron is the one who hides (sometimes on the ground, sometimes up in a tree), and I seek. I swear that bird can make himself invisible. Although I watch closely to see where he lands and then keep that location in sight, I’m often surprised to hear him squawk suddenly when I get closer than I realize. He then rises into the air, beating his great wings slowly as he looks for the next perfect spot to touch down along the riverbank – a place where he may hunt in solitude.

The heron possesses a keen sense of boundaries and is sensitive to even the smallest activity and movement around him. But when I am absorbed in meditative exploration of the water lilies and he squawks while cruising past me, it is ever so tempting to believe he is inviting me to join in another round of hide and seek. And sometimes I can’t resist.

The Great Blue Heron is a majestic sight, standing alone and motionless as a statue for long periods of time with highly focused awareness. A solitary hunter, this bird impresses me with its independence, self-reliance, and ability to wait. When I find myself feeling impatient or overly influenced by others, I call upon the image of my friend, the heron, who reminds me to give full and complete attention to the present moment as a means for reaching my goals.

Although the heron normally maintains a certain distance, on one occasion he allowed me to get closer and really experience his essence. I was paddling across the river to the lily pads and didn’t realize until I was a few yards away that the heron was there. I’m not sure why I was permitted so close that morning, but I seized the opportunity to get a few closeup shots and soak up the energy.


There is a small island in the middle of the river by our house with a peculiar wooden statue crafted by the hands of nature. Its resemblance to a heron is uncanny, and I often mistake it for such at first glance.

How interesting that the heron likes to stand next to it. The statue gives off a certain energy, a totem quality. It is a place to connect with heron energy. I think of it as a heron shrine.

Heron flying to the special spot on the island

One of my favorite heron memories thus far is when I was paddling on the other side of the river and saw the heron rise suddenly and hover, flapping his wings above some tree branches. He repeated this several times, retreating to the tree ever so briefly in between. From across the river, it looked like the bird was waving hello – before dive-bombing down to the river with a splash and then rising back up. The sight was rather amusing and made me wonder if he was victorious after all that. However, that’s the heron: He doesn’t care what anyone thinks about him. And I really admire that.

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© Susan Meyer and River Bliss, 2012-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including all photos, without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Susan Meyer and River Bliss (www.riverblissed.blogspot.com) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 

Goose Medicine: Navigating Turbulence with Grace

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“Stand through life as firm as a rock in the sea,
undisturbed and unmoved by its ever-rising waves.”
-Hazrat Inayat Khan


Today I find myself reflecting on a goose I observed recently on the river. 

In general, boats seem to be traveling faster this year than they have in the past. I’m not certain that’s actually the case, but it has been my perception. Some of them leave behind significant wakes that crash their way to shore. Some days, I’m fine with that and paddle into the turbulence with peace or a sense of adventure. Other days, I am more easily annoyed by the “rude” boaters who do not slow down for courtesy’s sake when passing kayakers.

I realize I cannot control the speed of the boats, only my reaction to them and the skill with which I navigate rough waters.  

One afternoon, I was returning to our dock when a motorboat came zipping along, creating some turbulence in the water. Although I had gotten into a very peaceful state of mind on the water, I became aware of a wave of irritation arising in me. 

After navigating the turbulence, I watched the waves crash into the shore up ahead and observed a single adult goose floating peacefully on the water. Although the turbulence was approaching the goose, the goose stayed completely calm and unruffled and floated effortlessly up and over the waves in stillness, as if not phased by it in the least. It didn’t fly away, stretch out its wings, or squawk. I watched that goose float calmly and gracefully up and over each wave and continued to watch it after the water became calm once again. 

Tail end of the turbulence from the motorboat’s wake



The goose circled around the dock, where I was sitting at this point, and then continued up the river. I watched it for as long as I could, drinking in the centered stillness of goose energy, and allowing the image to burn into my memory so I may call upon it to help me navigate the rough waters of life with so much grace. 


I appreciate and am inspired by how so many animals seem to know instinctively not to waste their energy on what is ultimately small stuff!

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© Susan Meyer and River Bliss, 2012-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including all photos, without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Susan Meyer and River Bliss (www.riverblissed.blogspot.com) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 

Angel Clouds and Synchronicity

A couple days ago, I came across a picture of an angel-shaped cloud above a prayer vigil taking place in Aurora, Colorado following the Dark Knight massacre:
This reminded me of an angelic cloud formation I noticed in the sky two months ago.
That evening, I was floating on the river around sunset thinking about a challenging personal situation and feeling good about how I was able to be a vehicle of love. The sky was very beautiful, and I felt an incredible sense of peace.
A week earlier, I had a vivid dream that began with the most beautiful sky I had ever seen, with very tiny, angel-shaped clouds moving in a circle. The sky above the river that evening reminded me of the sky in my dream, except for the tiny angel clouds. Shortly after making that association, I noticed a white mist moving rapidly through the other clouds, and then the angelic cloud formation appeared large in the sky in front of me.
 
My jaw dropped open and must have stayed that way for a couple minutes. I was in awe, gazing at this angel cloud in all its glory. I had never experienced anything like it before. It was numinous.
When I came back inside the house, I felt compelled to take out my 18-year-old deck of Universal Cards. This is a set of 88 cards, all of which contain a word except for five cards that contain the image of an angel. Wouldn’t you know, the card I drew was one of the angel cards?
As if that weren’t enough, while I was staring at the card, I heard the sound coming from my computer that lets me know I received an e-mail. The subject line was “Meet the 6 Bras Our Angels Can’t Live Without.”
Apparently the universe has a sense of humor.
The next day, I dropped my son off at his friend’s house, and on the way home I was thinking about the angel cloud. Then I turned on the radio in the middle of Pink Floyd’s song, “Learn to Fly,” which I’ve probably heard only once or twice in the past 20 years. The line sung within seconds was, “Can’t keep my eyes from the circling skies…” (which reminded me of the dream of the tiny angel clouds circling).
I laughed the rest of the way home.
I love synchronicity. When a series of seemingly related events like this occurs, it feels like I am following a trail of breadcrumbs – not knowing where it is leading but feeling certain that I am on the right path. I write about it so I can remember – because in time the details fade away.
Just had to share this story and my angel cloud picture with you since it’s been on my mind the past couple days.
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© Susan Meyer and River Bliss, 2012-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including all photos, without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Susan Meyer and River Bliss (www.riverblissed.blogspot.com) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.