Rain, rain and more rain! Plus a storm and high winds!!! Certainly not my favourite weather, but the dogs are looking hopeful still so under layers of waterproofs we venture out on a local walk. The river Asker normally crystal clear water cascading over rocks this morning is a raging mud brown torrent.
There in the centre of the river perched on a huge tree stump is a tiny white delicate bird. Un-phased but the dangerous waters she is motionless; patiently waiting. I stay and watch thinking it is the last place she should be, fishing on such a day will be fruitless. How wrong can I be! As if to prove my thoughts wrong she suddenly darts towards the water scoops up a fish and flies up into a tree where she swallows down her catch.
I first saw the egret six years ago; unusually for Bridport we had snow which had remained frozen for a couple of weeks. There paddling along the river was a tiny white bird. I’m seen such birds in the paddy fields in Burma, on rivers in Africa and across Sri Lanka, but not in a busy town in freezing temperatures. Just why this bird has chosen this narrow stretch of land as her fishing grounds is a mystery. To the west is a busy main road, supermarkets and a trading estate. To the east is a housing estate. It is a popular place for numerous dog walkers, so why here? It is far from ideal? I watched her for a while that day. Noticed her stillness, her patience, her tolerance of interruptions – like dogs splashing into the water; she just gracefully glides up into a tree and waits for commotion to pass on.
I named it Eddy, although I have since been reliably informed that the lack of two long narrow tail feathers means Eddy is in fact a female. Twice over the years, I have seen her with a mate, but mostly it is just one lone bird. I like to think it is the same bird but of course it maybe just one of her descendants! Seeing her not only brings me joy but also reminds me to take a leaf out of her book and be more *patient with other people and most of all with myself!
I’m often impatient with myself. For not recovering from being hurt fast enough, for leaving work incomplete, letting tasks pile up, I can go on! Egret teaches me to stop! Be still. Then dive in and get things done when I have the energy and when the time is right to do so.
Perhaps you need to be more patient with someone who has irritated you? Or maybe, like me, you need to give yourself a break! We can all learn from this delicate white bird; that reaps a reward by being patient even when conditions are icy or dangerous by fishing in the centre of a busy town!