I stand in the shadows,
still as the Great Heron on the opposite side,
watching him slide step by step,
quick movements and short pauses,
working his way along the west bank of the fork.
His gray blends into the wet clay of the bank
and I almost lose him for a moment,
then see the quick lean and stretch,
head and neck plunged fully into the water,
tell-tale silver clutched in the beak.
He holds the fish for a moment,
then snaps his head back and up.
The gulp is followed
by a twisting shake
that starts at the neck,
convulses body and wings
and ends with a shake of his stubby tail.
I stand, still watching,
as he moves on along the mud and leaves,
preying upon the fish so wary of larger fish
and learning too late
the silver strike from the sky.
There are many who die
in this notion of nature’s balance,
unaltered by willful compassion,
the greater preying upon the lesser
and not always taking note
that there is One Greater Than Us.