Tales of the Swamp

I know I’m late to this party, but I finally read Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens and fell absolutely in love with it. I initially had some resistance to this book, partly because I was afraid its landscape would bring up my own memories of the swamp, incursions into the wilderness that were as magical as they were dangerous, some of the danger stemming from the strength of the magic itself. It was an odd day to revisit all that, with two tropical storms looming in the Gulf – a stark reminder that nature reigns supreme and that we can all be easily swept into the Bayou – or into the deluge of our own emotions. Though my emotions have been reliable and kind as of late, nurtured by art and writing and other sources of peace. Also, tonight I saw the night heron again. I’d been thinking about this graceful creature. The book I just finished called it to mind, so I sat down and drew it on my Facebook Live show.

Later, I walked the dog, and the heron manifested itself among our urban landscape that still holds patches of lush greenery, even a touch of untamed wilderness. The bird and I watched each other undisturbed for a little while. We took our time. Even the biggest dog in the universe behaved – sort of. I approached cautiously. The bird changed position a few times, as if torn between wishing to observe me or to elude me. Then it made a guttural sound and flew away, low to the ground. I walked away feeling awed and hopeful. Perhaps I will paint the marsh one of these days.

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