I originally named this portrait "Standing Room Only." I'd never seen a Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) creep chest-high into a pool -- then just stand there forever like a Japanese snow monkey.
During the week after I first documented the branch-bearing herons, I returned to the park to watch the avian house builders again. I posted to my Facebook page that I stood for an hour that first day, mesmerized by this testament to renewal. In the end, there were 40+ new nests and trees full of heron chatter.
It begins with a twig in the bill and the throaty croak of the swamp. They're creatures of the marshes, the Great Blues, now on ascent to a season in the trees where nests incubate eggs, and where clumsy young legs will soon dawdle on branches until they get their wings.
My comment reflects first, how lovely northern, winter light really is, with the sun's rays beaming at low angles through atmospheric particles, gifting us with magic hours. Second, my comment suggests an ebullience deriving from life in the Northwest, where gray and drizzle drive us into blue tones, mist, and sequestration -- and where we all rise from our burrows and dust off like moles when the mystery orb in the sky reappears.