East Claridon, Ohio
The night sky softens to a deep calm grey before the first blush of dawn turns robust and the moon fades to a transparency. From the branches of a hemlock a black-capped chickadee drops two clear descending notes, as confident as the first violin of an orchestra. A wood thrush sends out a flute-like whistle. A cardinal and then a robin follow, then the air is filled with an assortment of cheeps, trills, chirps, clacks, fillips, screeches, twitters and whistles. Even to an untrained ear unable to match the call to the bird they sound different one from another. Each note encourages another, and one by one the winged residents of pond and woodland take up an invitation to play a lively morning cantata.
Cow lilies raise sturdy fists of yellow buds above the water. A small flock of Canada geese takes to the air, rising hard and fast, calling furiously to each other above the rounded contours of the pond, where an old snapping turtle rests in the mud. Water spills over an old brick dam and provides background music, always changing its tune. On the hottest days of August after weeks without rain it becomes a whisper.
A beaver swims from its humped, muddy house in search of new green leaves. A raccoon picks her way along the shore, in the deep shadows of pine and beech. As the light brightens and the air warms, a couple of turtles line up on a fallen log. Pink and white water lilies begin to open. Another morning comes to Blue Heron Farm.
It isn’t really a farm at all. It’s family land we’ve hung onto for almost a hundred years and now the only harvests are memories and love of the land. As miles go, I live far away, but at night when I can’t sleep I imagine waking up to the sight of a blue heron gliding across the pond and morning birdsong. In my heart and imagination this is my real home.