love thy neighbird

There is a Great Blue Heron rookery in the creek that runs along my neighbors back yard. When we moved here 10 years ago, our neighbors, the Hertzbergs, introduced us to the big blue bird who lives there. Edgar. He even has a name. Not sure if you get much luckier than this with a bird neighbor.

Edgar, the GBH on Phantom Lake, 2008 (watercolor on clayboard)

I see him almost daily. He moves in slow motion when he flies and spends lots of time on our dock…still as a painting. About 6 years ago, I started a what was my very first attempt at a landscape painting of Phantom Lake. It was an image of the lake from the far end of our dock. I was having trouble getting it just right and I put it away for a while. Then, possibly a year or more later, I had a close encounter with Edgar. It was thrilling, really…and it inspired me to do more studies of Great Blue Herons and other birds that live on the lake. Something led me to that unfinished painting…and I knew just how to finish it. With a wash, I took out the dock on the bottom half of the painting (you can do that with watercolors on clayboards), then painted Edgar right back in. It was as if the lake was waiting for his big arrival!

Our magical encounters continue. This year in the very early hours on New Year’s Day 2012…Edgar came to roost on a low branch in our weeping willow tree. This was a first. He stayed there for hours. I spend almost as many sneaking around the house, photographing him from almost every window. It was such an unusual occurrence, I had to look up the significance of such a sighting…

New Years Day, 2012, Edgar roosting in our weeping willow

…”The Iroquois tribe held the blue heron as a very good omen, a very lucky sign….Sighting a heron before a hunt was a sign that the hunt would be a good one….The appearance of GBH indicates that it is time to assert our own authority and to follow our own unique path in life. We need to listen to the inner calling of our hearts and not the ideas of others…There may also be a great opportunity coming our way and to grab it quickly when it comes…The heron (water symbol) is also a symbol of going with the flow, and working with the elements of Mother nature…In Egypt the Heron is honored as the creator of light and a symbolic of prosperity. In Africa, the Heron was thought to communicate with the Gods. As a Chinese symbol the Heron represents strength, purity, patience and long life. Native American tribes note the heron’s inquisitiveness, curiosity and determination, wisdom and good judgement skills…The GBH is also a symbol for a jack of all trades…”

I do love my neighbird. Here he is again this winter…almost blending into the gray mist.

Still Edgar on Phantom Lake, 2012

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