Nature Takes Us By the Hand

Serendipity has a way of bringing us to a place at the right time for the right reason. It was in late spring when I went for a evening walk. The day had been busy with many tasks achieved. Plans for the coming week were laid out with precision.

I was basking in my organizational prowess as I walked on a nature path when the unexpected happened. I met a heron leisurely meandering in the shallows of a pond. Her movements held an elegant patience that caught my breath. The words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow came to me, “So Nature deals with us, and takes away Our playthings one by one, and by the hand Leads us to rest so gently, that we go….”

I have no recollection of the day’s accomplishments, although I am certain that they were important and necessary.

My memory is filled with the flight of a heron.

Nature

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

As a fond mother, when the day is o’er,
Leads by the hand her little child to bed,
Half willing, half reluctant to be led,
And leave his broken playthings on the floor,
Still gazing at them through the open door,
Nor wholly reassured and comforted
By promises of others in their stead,
Which, though more splendid, may not please him more;
So Nature deals with us, and takes away
Our playthings one by one, and by the hand
Leads us to rest so gently, that we go
Scarce knowing if we wish to go or stay,
Being too full of sleep to understand
How far the unknown transcends the what we know.

69 Comments Add yours

  1. cindy knoke says:

    Herons usually walk or fly away, if you get too close. This one held you close. And then, poetry. You are remarkable Rebecca. And this gives me goose-bumps. Stay well my friend.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you, Cindy. It was a gift to be able to video this lovely creature. I have about 10 minutes of her gently picking her way through the water with her graceful feet. Sending hugs your way, my dear friend.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. How wonderful that you could share that extended moment with the heron. I occasionally catch sight of one by our local river, the encounters are always very fleeting.

    ✨🌻🌿🙏🕉🤍♾🕊☯🙏🌿🌻✨

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I was surprised that I was able to capture this elegant creature, Graham. I have seen her before sitting on top of a tree just before she lifts her wings and glides out over False Creek. Stanley Park is home to many Great Blue Herons (http://stanleyparkecology.ca/conservation/urban-wildlife/herons/). But I have only found one that makes her home in Charleson Park, where this these photos were taken. So glad that you stopped by….

      Liked by 4 people

  3. Klausbernd says:

    Good morning, dear Rebecca,
    we are so happy, we have quite some snow today and it’s freezing. Soon we’ll be out with our dear Dina that she can take winter photographs.
    Thanks a lot for this beautiful picture and for sharing this Longfellow poem we didn’t know before. We only knew his poem “Snowflakes”.
    With best wishes for a great week and big hugs
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Dina has inspired me to look more closely into nature, Klausbernd. Now, when I go for a walk, I take my camera with me because these types moments are fleeting indeed. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the coming weekend. Snow is in the forecast. I LOVE Snowflakes by Longfellow, especially the words “poem of the air.”. He has a gentle way of consolation. “This is the poem of the air, Slowly in silent syllables recorded; This is the secret of despair….” Sending many hugs and love to my dear friends, The Fab Four of Cley!!!!

      Liked by 4 people

  4. What a lovely post and poem. I didn’t know this one and it’s beautiful, so mighty Clanmother and sister, thank you so much for introducing me to it xxxxxx

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you, my dear Clansister! I am fascinated by the life and poetry of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. His long beard hid burn scars from when he tried to save his wife. He understood joy and sorrow and chose words that spoke to our souls. One of my favourite quotes is “It takes less time to do a thing right, than it does to explain why you did it wrong.” Hugs and love coming your way!!!

      Liked by 4 people

      1. That is brilliant. I love it. A clever and wise man to all accounts. xxxxxxxxxxx to you back.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Dave Astor says:

    Thank you, Rebecca! You captured the wonderful way nature can surprise us and temporarily take us away from our hamster wheel of responsibilities. (Onto the heron wheel of possibilities.) That first heron photo is especially a treasure.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Oh Dave – how very well said “onto the heron wheel of possibilities.” I have seen this lovely creature standing still on the rocks by the water. She makes no movement, not even with her head. It is as if I am looking at a statue. Thank you so much for your heartwarming comments. Say hello to Misty for me.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. Oh, “the heron wheel of possibilities”! I like this very much!!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Clanmother says:

        Doesn’t Dave have a marvelous way with words and symbols?!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Indeed he does!

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Dave Astor says:

        Thank you, Liz and Rebecca! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      4. You’re welcome, Dave!

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Ah, so beautiful, my dearest Rebecca and perfect for a Monday morning!
    Happy new week, my dearest friend. Many hugs. xoxo

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Welcome to a new week of possibilities, Marina! The sun has come out for a few days and I’m heading out to feel its warmth before the snow flies this weekend. Thank you for your lovely comments. Hugs and more hugs!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Enjoy, my dear friend!
        …and more hugs!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. A lovely post. I’m reminded of this quote:
    “All of the animals except for man know that the principle business of life is to enjoy it.” – Samuel Butler

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I have often wondered, as I am certain others have too, whether we are the most advanced creatures on this earth. I LOVE that quote by Samuel Butler. Thank you, my dear friend – it will be my quote for the week. (And you know how much I love quotes – you made my day!)

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I love it too, Rebecca. Let’s make it our shared quote for the week. ❤️

        Liked by 3 people

    2. I hadn’t heard that quote before. Thank you for passing it along.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. Mary Jo Malo says:

    Oh Rebecca, how “elegant patience” so accurately describes this heron’s movement, as well as to that which we can aspire. What serene beauty to just happen upon after your busy day! What a gorgeous video with perfect musical accompaniment to create and share with us. This Longfellow poem brings tears to my eyes. What parent can forget moments such as this? It’s deeper meaning of mature weariness and gentle rest is not lost on me. Hugs & Love!!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I agree wholeheartedly, Mary Jo – what parent can forget moments such as this. Longfellow’s thought about nature being our mother reminded me of the ancient mythologies that spoke about matriarchal religions. Now, that is another great conversation, Mary Jo!!! That deeper meaning of mature weariness was not lost on me either. It seemed to be a welcome back to beginnings. Sending many hugs and lots of love.

      Liked by 4 people

  9. Oh my goodness, this is one of the most beautiful and touching poems I’ve ever read. I loved seeing your Great Blue Heron of course. They are such majestic birds and always welcome in my backyard. Have a splendid week, dear Rebecca. 🤗🤗

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I was thinking of Mr GBH when during my videoing. I find that herons are masters of patience, delighting in moments and taking deliberate steps, not out of caution, but of ensuring that they are going in the right direction. Longfellow’s poems resonate, inviting us to an inner conversation. But he also has a brilliant way of storytelling. I remember Frances reading “Paul Revere’s Ride” ride to me when I was a child. I was caught up in the drama. But what really surprised me was when I learned that he was the first American to translate Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. Sending hugs and love. And please give my best regards to Mr. GBH!!!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. “Paul Revere’s Ride” was a favorite of my dad’s to read to me.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Clanmother says:

        Wasn’t it thrilling! There is so much depth when someone reads the “story.”

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Yes, and the fact that my dad grew up in the Boston area and went to college there added to the telling.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Today we have already worked in the garden and the seeds to sow instead of buying the plants are ready, so I am really on your wavelength, dear Rebecca, and I am very much enjoying your poem and your walk and while you saw a heron, we usually “meet” a turkey, which always comes to great us, making his gorgeous wheel! Many thanks and big hugs:) Martina

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Oh, turkeys have the most gorgeous wheels! How wonderful to to meet up with our winged friends. I read somewhere that gardening reduces stress levels. It seems that there are friendly soil microbes that boosts our immune system. I am coming over to your side of world to work in the garden with you. I love the smell of soil, especially in the spring when everything comes alive and the earth wakes up. Many hugs and love, Martina. Have a wonderful week!

      Liked by 4 people

      1. What a lovely proposal, Rebecca, we urgently need help!:):)I am absolutely convinced of your microbes, that’s probably why Scottish doctors advice their patients to work in the gardens to get healthy again, instead of pilllllllls! Thanks for your advince and also have a good week!

        Liked by 4 people

      2. Clanmother says:

        I did not know that about Scottish doctors!!! I continue to learn and learn and learn! Gardening is so much more fun than gulping down pills… Thank you so much for this new information.

        Liked by 3 people

  11. Ms Frances says:

    Thank you for this little video of the heron. I watched as he/she walked and enjoyed the water, dipping beak in the water and finally lifting up into the air with strong wings. I watched several times! Also, thank you for the Longfellow poem, he is always so descriptive.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Do you remember reading “Paul Revere’s Ride” to me as a child? I LOVED that poem. This year, I want to read and study, Evangeline, A Tale of Acadie which he penned in 1846. It is a long, long poem and speaks of the history of Acadians in Nova Scotia. Thank you so much for your support and encouragement – you have been there with me from the beginning….

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Mary Jo Malo says:

        Oh you’ll love it! I still have my copy, as well as a large distant family branch that was part of the Acadian migration to Louisiana. “This is the forest primeval…”

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Clanmother says:

        Goosebumps with the opening , Mary Jo!!!!! I am beyond thrilled that you have a family branch that was part of the Acadian migration. This was a tragic story, but one of courage and determination. I am very interested why Longfellow chose this particular story. He must have had a connection of some sort. Oh, I do love these questions….

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Mary Jo Malo says:

        The story behind the story is indeed fascinating. Evangeline and Gabriel as star crossed lovers is a powerful and beautiful poem. It’s probably resonated with many French Americans and Canadians through the ages.

        My particular 17th century ancestor arrived and stayed in the second colony of New France, Quebec. Those in Acadia were forcibly exiled either back to France or what would become Louisiana.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Clanmother says:

        I’m going to look back on my photos for Grand Pre, Nova Scotia. This is a complex and heartrending story that is held safe in a poet’s pen.

        Liked by 2 people

  12. J.D. says:

    Herons are such ethereal creatures. They sometimes pass by my river. I always feel blessed to see them.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I agree Julie – they bless our world. They have a mystical quality in their approach to living. They are masters in the art of meditation, each step a dance of freedom. Thank you so much for your presence! Many hugs and love…

      Liked by 4 people

  13. Meg says:

    This poem is perfect for now… What a comforting thought it is and the music is just lovely!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you so much for joining me on my evening walk. There are so many fabulous musicians that add to the story! I have a creator license under Epidemic Sound – they have been wonderful.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Paul Andruss says:

    Seeing the heron in the pool was such a lovely reminder of what is to come- hopefully not long away now. Longfellow’s poem was enchanting. I never knew of it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I am delighted that you enjoyed this moment, Paul. I keep these photos/mini-videos close by as a reminder that spring and summer will come again. I have signed up for a poem-a-day that’s delivers public domain poetry to my inbox. It is like receiving a breath of summer air! Hugs!!!!

      Liked by 2 people

  15. How utterly beautiful, Rebecca! I love herons, and “elegant patience” is the perfect description of the way they move. Marvelous! Hugs on the wing!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Love your hugs on the wing!!! Thank you, Teagan – so glad you enjoyed the video. I looked up the symbolism of Herons, because there is a mystical quality in their presence. Here is one explanation: Herons symbolism encourages tranquility and stillness, a quality that we must embrace. They also symbolize determination and courage, for like the Heron, we will be wading through marshes and ponds as we move along on our journey. Sending hugs back on the wing.

      Liked by 2 people

  16. Lovely… Oh, the wonder of it all! ❤ Thanks for sharing. xo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you, Bette, for joining me on my evening walk. I really appreciate your encouraging comments. Sending many hugs your way.

      Liked by 2 people

  17. This post was such a treat. Watching the video, I felt that I was right there with the heron, and it was magical.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you, Liz!! I am delighted that you stopped by. Ever since that evening, Don and I have walked by this little pond to see if “our” Heron has returned, but have only come upon the quiet water. Hmmm – there is a life lesson here – take the opportunities when given for they many not come again.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Definitely a life lesson learned.

        Liked by 2 people

  18. Francina says:

    Beautiful photo’s and poem, Rebecca.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      How lovely to have your company, Francina!!! Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Annika Perry says:

    Rebecca, what a sublime moment, almost as if the heron was waiting to greet you! 😀 Its colours are stunning and it has an elegant relaxed poise. Thank you for sharing your very special walk with us and introducing this poem to me! Wonderful! xx❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you for your lovely comments, Annika, and for joining me at the pond. I had never been this close to a heron before. I can only imagine how exciting it must be for nature photographers to capture our winged friends. Sending many thanks with my hugs!

      Liked by 2 people

  20. I am speechless. You have a way with words. It’s like you danced with nature and spoke it’s language to us, gently. It was almost like you became nature, and she used your voice to heal our souls with the words you’ve typed on the screen. How can I thank you for both the video and the words accompanying? Thank you for giving yourself to nature, so that we may experience her in such a real way vicariously ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you so much for your poignant and heartwarming comments. It was a lovely moment that came unexpectedly. One of my favourite nature quotes if by John Muir: “Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You’re most welcome. Thank you also for the quote, it’s hard not to love what was said in it, I can see why it’s your favourite 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  21. picpholio says:

    I like to spot herons in nature, they are beautiful birds. It’s fascinating to see them hunt for fish but most of all I see them in the air. Nice pictures and a lovely video. Kind regards, Rudi (Belgium)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I am delighted that you joined me by the pond. I have seen this Heron sitting on top of a tree for a very long time. Then, all of a sudden, she lifted her wings and gracefully flew into the blue sky.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Liz says:

    Reading this post, watching the video, reading all the lovely comments – what a truly wonderful gift of peace and fellowship you have given, Becky, thank you. Have you come across the instagram account of @yukikawae? I think you would appreciate his wonderfully calm and mesmerising videos. Sending love and hugs to you and the chaps xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I am so glad you met up with me at the pond on an evening walk. Over the past months I have learned to cherish the moments when we can walk in nature. I found @yukikawae and am now following. Watching his art evolve is meditative, isn’t it? What a extraordinary art form. Thank you so much for the introduction. Sending many hugs and love from all of us across the pond. 🤗🤗🤗❤️❤️❤️

      Liked by 2 people

  23. I love Longfellow – his simple imagery, plain language, and seamless rhyme and how that combination creates such a deep sense of familiarity and emotion. This is a beautiful piece, Rebecca. A wonderful share.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you so much for joining me at the pond, communing with our lovely Heron. Her movements were so deliberate and precise that it seemed that she was still standing still when she moved. Ah, there is a life lesson here that I continue to learn and relearn – listen to the heartbeat of earth. Sending hugs!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Nature is a wise and wonderful teacher, isn’t she?

        Liked by 2 people

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