When Steve and Estelle stood with me on the land talking about where a larger water feature should be dug, the feeling of “pond” was doubtful in my mind, but that feeling quickly changed when a large bird flapped across our heads above. This aviator was a Native friend, Great Blue Heron, the long legged fisherman of water’s edge. This bird of great standing has been a special friend in my nature education journey, a symbol of rewilding in my heart and spirit. The nature school I first worked with back in Vermont was called Great Blue Heron Tribe. That community invited me into a place of responsibility and trust with the young people around me who were so enthusiastic about learning. Heron held the school in its great wings, long legs held out behind with strength, which translates to pillars of perfect balance when the bird is stilted over open water. My paternal family is named for this gift of strong, long legged-ness. Crain is of English origin, meaning “long legged”. Herons were also called cranes in olden days: see CRANE .
Ok, so back on the land, at Leafhopper Farm, every time I was out on the landscape talking about the pond, Great Blue Heron would show up in the sky. I promised him I would dig a pond so he could have a place to come and be on the land. When the big hole was dug out and water started coming in, I figured it would be a while before any birds would be using the as-of-yet not totally full to capacity space I’ve invited water to collect and hold in. But as usual, my assumptions were wrong. (never assume!) SET INTENTIONS! I set an intension to have a pond for a heron. Guess what? This week, almost a perfect year after the pond was dug, someone very special showed up on our banks:
That’s right, GBH has come at last! And that’s only the cherry on this little sunday folks! Here are a few other highlights in the first year for Leahopper Farm’s pond:
-through a record breaking drought, the water never dried up
-there are seeps feeding the pond (very slowly) even when it’s not raining, which means the pond is also spring fed
-other birds use the pond, ducks have visited, swallows use the mud on bank edges for building nests, and many more countless numbers drink from it, especially in the hot, dry summer this year
-tons of indicator species like frogs and salamanders were hatched in this water, which turned the place into a nursery for all kinds of life
-a few bull frogs showed up and fed Steve and Misja one night
-snakes came to hunt the pollywogs and young frogs, there are a lot more baby snakes around now too
-dragon flies hunt the water bugs, lots more flying insect predators are about now, bringing the mosquito population down in cooperation with other flyers like those swallows I mentioned earlier
the list is endless, but these are especially note worthy, please add in comments if you can think of more!
So in closing, the pond is thriving, it may look small and not full, but it is full; full of intension, lessons, and life. That’s what my stewardship of this land is all about; growing a thriving habitat for all who dwell here. The arrival of Great Blue Heron is a milestone on this land, something I came to create, with the help of so many others, for the betterment of The Earth. It’s small, but that’s ok. If we all make small choices to help, lots of really BIG things can get done. GBH is a sign for me that things here on the land are growing, that there is great reward for patience, and maybe most importantly, to keep following my heart with good intension. Thanks to all who share this vision, and to Heron, for the gift of presence.