It is easy to overlook what we are not prepared to see.

But a patient gaze will often reward long familiarity with a place.

Then the mutest shape might suddenly pronounce its presence,

like a Green Heron on the fallen ash beside Little Crum Creek.


. . .

Pennsylvania, like the entire eastern half of the United States, is part of the Green Heron’s summer breeding range.

I have spotted one here on Little Crum Creek as early as April and as late as August.

But I had never noticed one before squatting one day among the long-appreciated turtles of nearby Crum Creek.

There, with the slightest step, a yet unseen heron suddenly stirred the shade of a late summer day,


fully startled me with the raising of its head,


and assuredly prepared all our later engagements.