There is an especially large old oak tree down by the wetlands area near where I live. This tree towers above all others. In the “winter” months here in northern California’s rolling foothills of the Sierras, there is no real snow – you have to drive up the 80 about 40 miles on your way to Tahoe for the snow possibilites to begin. Here we welcome the rains of winter, and this year they have been scarce. The leaves of this majestic tree are still gone and you can see the enormous nests of the Blue Herons who reside there in the summer months. The nests look like they are about 4 ft across, and they are tangled up in the highest branches. The Herons have already returned, here at the onset of February, and one of these days I will get a photo when the light is right. By the time they get to their nests every evening it is almost dark and hard to see them. They have been out earning a living during the day, just like everyone else. But picture a half dozen gigantic birds, each probably 6 ft tall, standing in his/her nest in this mother of an oak tree, watching over the Safeway parking lot, the Starbucks, the Cleaners, the bank and the Jack-in-the-Box. There is plenty of traffic going on all day and night in that area. They seem fascinated by it. Not a one of them is pointed in the other direction.
Even in the low light of evening you can see they are blue – navy blue. They look as if they are dressed in gangster suits, all sraight up tall and somber. Motionless. Beady eyes watching. You kind of imagine them in dark sunglasses and an Al Capone type hat, brim turned down just right. And some Blues Brothers music.