old lady marsh hawk

Ran into an old lady on my run. I was standing in the road – a crushed asphalt road fronting the marsh – binoculars out, watching a shoveler cruising the reeds of the far shore.
“Can I tell you something?” she said.
“Sure you can.”
Had I ever seen a heron on the road, she asked. A big great blue heron on the road?
I knew the answer. No, I said.
“He was walking up and down,” she said. “Up by the bridge.”
By bridge she meant the wooden footbridge connecting a dirt parking lot with the stadium.
The old lady was walking with a cane, in an old parka and loose pants, a baseball cap. She was watching me out of the corner of her eye as she spoke, and also watching the marsh, relishing her story.
“Then out from under the bridge came three little ones in the water, not a feather between them.” She laughed. “And then the mother came right behind them.”
I’d seen a heron many times in the marsh, I said, but nothing like that. I was thinking how birders seem to be mesmerized by herons in the same way some are by trains or tankers. The thing is just so large. Its largeness is bottomless for them. But this old lady’s story was better of course. Big birds with their tiny young are an impressive, and somewhat rare, sight.
“I’ll keep my eyes out,” I said, aware that the story was over, starting to walk again, readying to break into a run.
“Oh, it’s been a bit now. It’ll be too late,” she said, pleased.

"Can I tell you something?" she asked.

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