Beau is our name for the beautiful Great Blue Heron who fishes in a nearby salt marsh.
Many’s the time in the past week that I stood on dock’s edge, shooting frame after frame, guessing wrongly that in the next frame, Beau might burst into flight.
Beau, however, is a patient angler, sometimes bending his neck to preen or extending it periscope-fashion, but rarely permitting the merest glimpse of a wing-feather.
And yet. If I turn my head just a moment, then turn back— he’s gone.
How, heaven knows.
Five days of this and I’m tempted to give him up for easier subjects. But then I ask inwardly, WWBD—what would Beau do?
He’d persist, that’s what. And so do I.
Finally, yesterday, a loud SQUAWWWNK! comes from Beau’s customary place. Muscle memory responds and before I can think to act, my camera fires a bunch of frames. When I look up to see what I might have been shooting— he’s gone.
But lo! When I replay the last second of photographs — there he is! Wings spread! Not exactly airborne yet, but pretty much flying.
Oh yes, I know why Herons call. Chances are Beau was calling to a mate. But might it just be possible Beau was weary of watching me watching him all week long?
Might it be he was saying “Here I go, human—click the damned shutter!”