I’ve always tried to live near a body of water. I think Meridian, MS and Fort Worth, TX were the only places of note where I didn’t get to watch water birds. I’ve always noticed the egrets hanging around the water’s edge. They’re royal in stature, sleek in design, graceful in motion, perfectly proportioned for beauty. They’re majestic! I have set these egrets, and herons as well, on a pedestal since my youth. Everything about them, including the way they quickly jab at their prey, is just an example of elegance. They are a wonderful creature to watch and to try to imitate. Any young girl could learn poise and grace by watching these feathered beauties.
I’ve never noticed them anywhere except near water.
I was in shock one day, shortly after moving to Florida, when a sat at a traffic light in Sarasota. To my right in a parking lot was an egret poking at a discarded piece of food in a torn, fast food container. My jaw dropped with disappointment. I sat, staring at this white hunk of feathers wrestling on a black top with something other than a fish. I think I started crying. The car behind me honked when the light turned green. Momentarily dazed, I drove off wondering if I was in some weird dream.
It wasn’t until some later date, I saw this kind of thing again. This time I took it a little better. But still, my majestic egret was reduced, in my mind, to nothing more than a sea gull picking at french fries in a parking lot.
I finally chilled out about the issue, in fact, laughed at the situation while telling a friend my story. We were at her house on Lido Key. She had her own story to tell me, but wanted to show me something first. We walked up the beach to the public beach area and the snack shop. Standing by the back door to the kitchen, as usual, was a great heron and some snowy egrets begging for food. The kitchen manager came out and said the birds were always there, every day waiting for a snack…junk food.
I will always love these birds and when they are in their place, at water’s edge, they are majestic. When they are begging for food in parking lots, I have to turn away, and chuckle.
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