My Puritan Ancestors And I Share Some Beliefs

Since I arrived an hour early for the funeral yesterday and didn’t particularly feel like talking to anyone, I decided to make a quick trip to the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.

Nearly immediately I spotted three elusive Great Egrets through the trees.

Their startling whiteness makes them hard to miss, but perhaps because of that very trait they seem unnaturally shy and reclusive. Every time I pulled closer they flew off, and I was left catching glimpses of them through the trees and shrubs. I found these angelic creatures strangely comforting, if elusive.

I didn’t drive too much further, though, before I noticed a flock of large birds perched on old fence posts, so I grabbed my camera and hurried to get some pictures.

If I were a superstitious person I’d have been shaken when suddenly confronted by a flock of Turkey Vultures, a bird I can never remember seeing at Ridgefield in all the years I’d hiked there. I’ve never seen them on the ground before, content to observe me as I drove by in the car, almost as if they knew my final destination.

It certainly seemed that they had come home to roost.

Slightly shaken, I drove away quickly rather than stop at my usual observation point. In fact,I decided to circle back in hopes of once again catching a glimpse of those beautiful egrets.

Before doing so, though, I decided to actually get out of my car and do part of the short Refuge walk. As I was returning, I noticed a small bird sitting absolutely still on a branch sticking out of the water.

I’d obviously missed him a few moments earlier when I’d passed by even though I’d spent considerable time searching the shoreline of the pond. Though I wasn’t sure at first, it struck me that this was the elusive Green Heron I’d been chasing trying to photograph for the last two years.

It turned out that there were two of them in the pond and, though by now I was pressed for time, I stayed to photograph this beautiful but elusive bird that may well have been in front of me all the time and I was merely incapable of seeing it, beautiful as it was.