October 20, 2008

The heron's voice

WE WERE anchored in Shallow Bay, Sucia Island, in early September 2005 in our little sailboat, Sangoma. The peace and tranquility of this sheltered haven in the San Juan Islands of the Pacific Northwest was all around us.

A lanky, gawky heron was fishing in the shadows on the western side of the bay when a kingfisher came flitting along and disturbed him.

The heron flapped clumsily into the air, protesting vigorously, complaining loudly and bitterly in a harsh, grating, echoing croak. If a creaking door could roar, that would be the heron.

Later, I told my wife, June, about it.

“How could God give the heron such a terrible voice?” I asked.

She looked at me for a while and asked: “Have you heard God’s voice?”

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