The purpose-driven heron

Posted by on May 17, 2012 in just for fun, motivation | 3 Comments

Pre-Ramble:  While acclimating to life in the new digs, I’ve been taking in the sights and sounds of the lakefront location.  Along with the bold and colorful flutter of the red-wing black birds and the honking packs of roving geese, I’ve been taken by the serene and pensive herons that stand knee-deep at the water’s edge.

I’m sure they’re breathing, but the heron’s carriage is steady, movements barely detectable, as they wait to catch a glimpse of a fleeting fish or bug.

At least that’s what I think they’re doing — I could be all wrong and they could actually be deep in thought, … engaged in some kind of genetically-driven innovative exercise, … planning a new strategic migration route, ways to expand into promising new turf, or blocking out that book they are going to write.

The herons could be dreaming up their next big bird thing.

No.  I am not willing to consider that the lone herons are merely gazing absent-mindedly into space … their tiny bird-brains completely blank.

On the way to looking for a nice photo of a heron (above), I came across a blog post about herons written by someone named Heather MacKenzie-Carey.  It was about a deeper, symbolic meaning behind the nature of the heron that I thought was pretty compelling …

“As a totem animal, the heron signifies self determination and self reliance. It is said that the appearance of a blue heron is a symbol to follow your own unique wisdom and self-determination. The heron is about following your heart and your soul rather than popular opinion or the latest “bandwagon” … Herons have those long skinny legs so they can wade out into deep water while keeping their balance but still maintaining the ability to soar to great heights.”

She goes on to note that while the heron may be a loner, its demeanor conveys an important message,

“When I see [the heron] in the reeds by the water, he’s always alone. When I see him flying overhead, I never see any other birds with him … Herons are pretty solitary creatures. The lesson to take from them is that there is strength to be gained from spending time with yourself away from the crowds and opinions of others. There are times when following a solitary path or non-traditional role to create your own circumstances may be [the way to go] … maintain your own connection, your own source of strength and stand firm and balanced secure in your personal power.”

The Take-Away:  She is right – herons do project an almost Zen-like sense of personal power in their serenity and balance.  Like the heron, we might want to consider a vigilant but patient stance as we listen — often through significant noise and distraction — for our own unique wisdom and direction to become known.



  1. james rusk
    June 3, 2012

    Thanks, I like the info and pics on herons. Is there any place else I could find pics of herons?

  2. james rusk
    June 3, 2012

    I never thought to much of why the heron is a favorite of mine, I’ve just always admired them. They do seem rather ‘contemplative’ in their stillness, awaiting the flicker of a fin to quickly seize.
    they are surely thinking, or perhaps meditating, finding equinimity, or enjoying the ever changing patterns of the waters surface such as visual artist would
    , and through such keen observation instantly seeing the break in the soothing rhythm, ah… dinner.

  3. katherine
    June 3, 2012

    Thank you for your very poetic thoughts on herons — your comparison of the heron to a visual artist caused me to wonder whether herons were predominately left or right-brained — ?

    To your earlier question – a Google search on “herons”/images will yield 1.9 million pictures of herons.

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