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A Moment of Zen with a Cattle Egret

Some weeks are easier than others, and this wasn’t one of the easiest — but as the magnet on my fridge dictates, sometimes ya just have to pull on your big-girl panties and move on with it. During such times, I make it a point to run to Nature — it doesn’t matter if I’m visiting the wetlands, hiking up a frenzy, or simply planting in my little yard — anything to re-focus my attentions to something I thoroughly enjoy.

As the mind races, there’s no better place than a natural environment, one in which you can really ground yourself, breathe more freely, and just observe…. These walks have allowed my best walking meditations. And of course there are always the critters to remind you that life isn’t so serious, after all.

I don’t need the most elegant display to snap out of it, even if it’s temporary. This lone cattle egret was in the company of a group of ibis in our protected wetlands, who were busy grooming for the night ahead. Amid the flurry of their activity, there he sat, content in the setting sun. Thanks, little egret, for my much-needed moment of Zen….

Cattle Egret and Ibis in the Florida Wetlands

Calm amid the hubbub, with the grooming and foraging Ibis

Cattle Egret in the Florida Wetlands

Look how lovely I am, humble and peaceful little Cattle Egret…

Cattle Egret in the Florida Wetlands

….So snap out of it, girlie!

86 Comments Post a comment
  1. Pam #

    Beautiful!

    January 11, 2013
    • So common, but so very sweet and elegant!! Thanks much. 🙂

      January 11, 2013
  2. jimbey #

    Amen to that … and have you noticed how well the different species of wading birds seem to get along together? Egrets hang out with Ibis who feed next to Wood Storks that are sharing space with Spoonbills stirring up the bottom for herons — and Egrets, etc. Maybe being a birdbrain ain’t so bad an idea, eh?

    January 11, 2013
    • EXACTLY. With barely an argument among all those species that you list, and more… OK, maybe a tiff here and there, over a fish! 🙂 Very wise point indeed.

      January 11, 2013
  3. Amen to moments of Zen!! Do we ever need them!!

    January 11, 2013
    • Hee!! 🙂 Always…always…. I’m eternally grateful to be in close proximity to the wetlands and Loxahatchee!! I wait for the weekends for those more MANIC hikes, wink.

      January 11, 2013
  4. Cool photos and even cooler words! It’s such a gift to know how to re-charge, recover, re-group, broaden our perspective, breathe, appreciate, escape, indulge and center. Life deals us so much to grow from!

    January 11, 2013
    • Thanks so much…. Most definitely! Growing pains can be brutal. But there’s no better place than Momma Earth than to ground oneself, and to walk among Her lovely foliage and critters, to remind us — yup. It’s all good. And perhaps not quite as bad as my brain wants to make it. Look at that cattle egret, does he look stressed? 🙂

      January 11, 2013
      • Nope! He is a great role model! 🙂

        January 11, 2013
      • PERFECT role model!!

        January 11, 2013
  5. ah yes, that was a comforting moment – or three – with the egret! the images are amazing, as if you’re looking into its soul (or it was peering into yours!)
    great post! z

    January 11, 2013
    • Thanks so much…. And honestly, given my state of mind at the time of the shot — I would say the latter, of your statement!! 🙂 There’s nothing like Nature and the wonderful trees and critters to remind us of all the beauty out there….

      January 11, 2013
      • my heart went out to you when i read the post; nature has a way of calming me, assuring me, when times aren’t the best.
        may 2013 be good to you!
        z

        January 11, 2013
      • SO many thanks for your sweet words — I have complete faith that it will. Growing pains can stink, eh? 🙂

        And right back at ya… May this year bring all the best, all the love your way!

        January 11, 2013
  6. I know exactly what you mean. No matter how rotten my morning goes, my noon-time walks in nature never fail to make me feel better…especially if I’m lucky enough to get to see some wildlife. I think animals live a much more zen-like life than we do. When we get to watch them, it rubs off a little.
    Hope the new week goes better for you!

    January 11, 2013
    • You’re exactly right… They just…ARE. We have so much to learn from them — and these little reminders are just that, for me. It’s probably why I’m out there so very much, too! 🙂

      You’re very kind — many thanks for your sweet words!!

      January 11, 2013
  7. Oh they are so cute!

    January 11, 2013
  8. This was just lovely. A nice opportunity to breath in the middle of my blog reading.

    January 11, 2013
    • Ah, I’m so happy for that! Thanks so much…. 🙂

      January 11, 2013
  9. Run to nature. Yes! Me too. Serious question though. What do you do when it rains? On a cold day. When you’re sick. I did some house work and set the dryer on fire but it wasn’t very satisfying.

    January 11, 2013
    • Hahahah!!

      I usually do manic housework or purging when I’m in these frames — PURGE like a madwoman! And yep, I’ll explode something. Last time, it was the vacuum cleaner… I’m impressed though. A fiah in the dryah!

      January 11, 2013
  10. So glad you turn to nature to ground yourself as ultimately all of your followers get a moment of zen too. The light in this series is beautiful and does wonders illuminating the egret. Thank you for sharing.

    January 11, 2013
    • You’re so very kind… It’s become a habit, thank goodness (as I head off now!). 🙂

      The light really was quite lovely, and I couldn’t help but be soothed by this little guy’s calm. So very sweet.

      January 12, 2013
  11. Those beautiful creatures certainly make me feel better.

    January 11, 2013
    • Heh, how could they not? Even in a *blech* state, such beauty all around. So calm and peaceful… ALWAYS a wonderful lesson. 🙂

      January 12, 2013
  12. You sure caught his mood and calmness!

    January 11, 2013
    • Thanks so much… It was oozing off of him, the calm and peace in the setting sun. I needed it! 🙂 Thanks little egret!

      January 12, 2013
  13. Most splendid is to come upon an animal in the wild. Stops all hatter instantly and makes my day. Beautiful. Birds. Thanks Gretchen

    January 12, 2013
    • Exactly!! All that ridiculous, nasty merry-go-round of chatter in the head — instantaneously ceases when one encounters a scene such as this, even with the most common of critters. I thanks them every day for it, too….

      As I type this, a Zebra Longwing Butterfly is fluttering outside the window. How’s that? 🙂

      January 12, 2013
  14. You are a dedicated one, FeyGirl.

    January 12, 2013
    • Ah, I need it… For my sanity and general well-being! 🙂

      January 12, 2013
  15. narhvalur #

    Reblogged this on Ann Novek–With the Sky as the Ceiling and the Heart Outdoors.

    January 12, 2013
  16. All I have for you is a big smile and a knowing Zen-like nod – deep breath , breathe out and let the weighty thoughts drift into the atmosphere….

    January 12, 2013
    • Hee, thank you thank you thank you! More silly news to top of an already silly week. Sigh. I swear, pretty soon I’ll be heading off to the coast of Ireland, to some remote fishing village to live out my recluse dream. 🙂 Oh yeh. Money.

      Thank goodness for the critters!!

      January 12, 2013
  17. What a sweet little egret. The small things can be huge, can’t they?

    January 12, 2013
    • VERY well put…!

      Even the most mundane things (in this case, our little cattle egret) continue to make the biggest impact, when needed. Which is why I always make a point to run out to Nature, even if I feel like burying my head in the sand. 🙂

      January 12, 2013
  18. Wow – amazing shots. Such adorable birds!

    January 12, 2013
    • They’re such sweethearts, despite their common presence here… And I obviously needed to see his calm and peaceful demeanor! 🙂

      January 12, 2013
  19. He’s beautiful. Fantastic shots. There’s nothing like Nature to sooth and calm. 🙂

    January 12, 2013
    • Thanks so much…. And you’re exactly right. Even if I feel like hiding in the sheets, I force myself out (as I’m doing now!), to experience moments such as this — because they’re around every bend. 🙂

      January 12, 2013
  20. Real zen pictures, loved it, thanks for sharing!

    January 12, 2013
    • Thanks so very much! He really is a great little, and lovely, example to follow, eh? 🙂

      January 14, 2013
  21. I have to agree on the power of escaping out into the wilderness. I’ve been known to do it for months at a time. I can’t think of anything else that is nearly as effective for fighting the blahs than a walk in the woods.

    January 12, 2013
    • Ah, so wonderful… Months! Talk about a serious escape and re-grouping of the heart, mind, and soul.

      There is truly nothing else to compare. If people could drag themselves outside, away from the electronic feeds for even a few minutes here and there, we’d be doing great.

      January 14, 2013
  22. Love your blog each and every time I come to visit you make me smile and feel better. Great job!

    January 13, 2013
    • How incredibly kind — you brought a smile to my face with those words, thanks so very much! 🙂 I credit the land and the critters, heh.

      January 14, 2013
  23. Wow, that 2nd photo in particular is absolutely perfect.

    January 13, 2013
    • Ah, thanks so very much! It really was lovely timing, with the setting sun… And his utter calm and peace! Such a wonderful example, this little guy.

      January 14, 2013
  24. These are very beautiful egrets and not to easy to shoot. I’ve yet to get a good shot of one of them.

    January 13, 2013
    • Isn’t it odd, that as common as they seem to be, that I don’t have many images of them, either….? Unusual! It was such a wonderful opportunity, with the setting sun and his (seeming) peaceful demeanor.

      January 14, 2013
  25. Hi FeyGirl! I recently was feeling overwhelmed by notifications, alerts and emails in general, so I unsubscribed to a bunch of stuff, but you know what…. I kept Serenity Spell and posts like this are why. 🙂
    So, I wanted to share with you that Audubon of Martin County is having a wildlife photo contest, and with your massive collection of great shots, I was thinking you should enter!. It is being hosted on http://www.birdhero.com
    I am actually on the BOD for our local chapter, so I am excited to see the contest bloom, hope you will join us.
    Best,
    Mike

    January 14, 2013
    • Hello hello!

      Oh how wonderful… What a wonderful way to begin my day and week, thank you so much for such a lovely compliment! (I know though, these notifications are seriously out-of-control….)

      WOW! This is amazing — I’m really out of the loop with contests and whatnot. Fantastic! And I just spent the entirety of my weekend — literally — in Martin Cty, hiking up a storm and photographing, of course. My legs and shoulders are taking the brunt, now. And I have some interesting bites… 🙂

      I will definitely submit something! Oh the choices. Where to begin. THANK YOU!

      January 14, 2013
      • Great! I have enjoyed your past posts in Martin County! Eric Draper of the Florida Audubon gave a lecture a couple nights ago here in Stuart, you would have enjoyed it, the theme was parallel to your line of thinking – get outside! enjoy what we have here in Florida. Anyway, it would be awesome to see you on birdhero. Thanks, Mike

        January 14, 2013
      • Ah drats, I would have absolutely gone to the preso…! Will I get updates for such events, now that I’m on here?

        Just signed up — I’m “Christina.” 🙂 Now to learn the ins-and-outs and upload one (or perhaps a few?) images for the contest!

        January 14, 2013
      • Wow, you are fast! If you are going to upload a few, which would be great, you would be better off becoming a member of the chapter first….much cheaper that way. Whatever works for you. Let me know if I can help, BTW, you can create your own group if you want, maybe it is a Serenity Spell social group of some kind.

        January 14, 2013
      • Gotta be quick, before my work starts, hahah! 🙂

        Ah, I see that now… It costs per entry. Yes, it may make sense to join! And that’s a wonderful idea — I didn’t realize extraneous “social groups” could be created! Hmmmm…

        January 14, 2013
  26. I have to agree with you FeyGirl – I get more meditation from being outside with the flora and fauna than in any quiet place. ❤

    January 14, 2013
    • ….So true (as I spent the entire weekend hiking!!). I find I’m more at home there, I must say. 🙂

      January 14, 2013
  27. Funny story about cattle egrets. I don’t live somewhere where I see them often, and I’m used to thinking of egrets as great-egret-sized. I was once driving through Florida and saw, out of the corner of my eye, a cluster of egrets gathered around a cow. My brain interpreted the scene as having great-egret-sized egrets and the biggest cow I had ever seen! And then it snapped back to a normal-sized cow and small egrets.

    Brains are funny things.

    January 14, 2013
    • Hahahaha! Oh that’s great… Thanks for the morning smile. I have *totally* had that brain freeze when I’ve been out and about. In your case, it’s completely understandable — you’re not accustomed to seeing them! But I love the fact that you’re imagining this Willy Wonka cow. 🙂 I’ve often looked at birds I see incessantly down here, and stare…and stare…like I’m seeing some extinct creature. I worked in publishing for years, and it’s akin to seeing the word “the” and suddenly saying to oneself, “what a strange word…why…” It’s happened.

      January 15, 2013
      • That’s a fantastic analogy. Love it.

        January 15, 2013
  28. I loved your cute, little zen master.

    Bob and I had a weekend where everything seemed to go wrong. For instance on Saturday we had driven some ways to go hiking, commune with nature and what-not, and as soon as the car door closed, we realized that the keys were locked inside — DOH! Anyway by the time the weekend was over, we wanted a do-over. 😀

    January 14, 2013
    • Zen Master: Love it, hahahah!!!

      Ohhhhh no!!! As much as we both hike, there are ALWAYS episodes like this. It seems as though you guys up north, and me (I’m sometimes a lone hiker these days, recently single) down here, had QUITE the weekend. I spent the entire weekend hiking in a pristine section of our Everglades watershed. Lovely, right? Oh yes. But on Saturday, due to horrible signage and mapping (a lack of budget down here often creates this scenario) — AND a recently opened trail I decided to explore — I was nearly lost. With the sun setting. And the coyote and bobcat and boar all ’round. Oh my. I finally found my way, walking furiously for miles to get to the car, but I was shaking with fear and a good degree of fury. Of course, I hiked again on Sunday. 🙂

      January 15, 2013
      • What an unnerving experience! I’m glad you were able to bounce back so quickly. I’m not employed outside of the home, but Bob is. Because of his work schedule the two of us typically hike together on weekends. However I occasionally go hiking by myself during the week knowing all the while that if I have a mishap by myself, it’s going to be harder handling it alone.

        In our case last weekend I had made reservations for the two of us to participate in an off-trail hike in a Nature Preserve. We decided that we’d go past the highway exit for the preserve so we could stop at a highway rest stop and have lunch and use their restrooms. We were going to have a picnic lunch (it was in the sixties!), but all the picnic tables were wet… even the ones under the picnic shelter. So we decided to eat in the car. And since we had been listening to an audio book during our drive (The Dresden Files), we decided to keep listening while eating. That’s why the keys were in the ignition while we were parked, and my cellphone was set up to use the car’s stereo for the audible book. After eating we left the car to use the facilities, and as soon as the door shut we realized that we had locked the keys in. DOH! And we couldn’t call AAA because the phone was locked in the car. DOH! And they no longer have pay phones at rest stops because everyone has cellphones now. DOH!

        A complete stranger felt sorry for us and lent me his Blackberry, so I could call AAA. I felt really bad because he was part of a two car caravan and it was taking forever to actually speak to a human being. When I finally reached a rep, they wanted my phone number so they could get back to me in the event that the tow truck had trouble finding us. But I explained that I was only borrowing a phone from someone, so it would be impossible to call me back after I hung up. After finally finishing up on the phone, the complete stranger offered to leave his Blackberry with me even after he and the other car drove off with the understanding that I would return it to him somehow after we had been rescued (what a kind soul!!!). Anyway I refused to inconvenience him any further and I gave him his phone back then and there. Then it was an hour and a half wait till the tow truck arrived that AAA had dispatched. So we missed the off-trail hike. And I felt really bad because the naturalist had told me if for any reason I couldn’t make it, I should let him know so people on the waiting list could take my place. But I couldn’t call because my phone was locked in the car. 😦 I’ve been half-temped to call him this week to explain what happened (which is pretty much is pretty much the same as saying I’m not an inconsiderate doufus — I’m just a garden-variety doufus). 😀

        January 15, 2013
      • Oh noooooo!!!! Now that’s a story. I swear, it’s like the fates sometimes converge, and everything that could go wrong… WILL! At least there was someone nearby with a PHONE! Wow!

        In these times, I always like to think — something horrible woulda happened if you went on that off-trail hike, for instance. Perhaps it just makes me feel better in the face of these events, but there HAS to be reason to the madness. There must! I’ve locked the keys, phone, luggage…everything…in the car, a rental, on the way to the airport, successfully missing the flight. Score! And as you say: AAA isn’t the speediest, sometimes…. 🙂

        January 16, 2013
      • Well, if I were to fumble around for a reason for the madness, having the encounter with the kind gentleman who wanted to leave his Blackberry with me was heart-warming.

        Let me share my worst car-rental experience. Many, many years ago Bob and I flew to Florida. The idea was that we would spend the day at Disney’s Epcot center, and in the evening we were supposed to drive to a relative’s home for a family-reunion-style dinner. Except at the conclusion of our day at Epcot, we walk out to the parking lot and realize that neither of us remember the color, make or model of our rental car. 😮 Back then they didn’t have that information on the key fob. Soooo…. we pretty much had to wait till everyone else had left, and the car that was still there was ours. When we arrive very, very late at the relative’s home, about all we could say was that we are your idiot-relatives from up north. 😳

        January 16, 2013
      • Omigosh….omigosh….OMIGOSH!

        We are uncannily similar, do you know that? I need to find someone who will respect me for that quirk, as you have — heee!!! Despite the occasional….errr….frustrating scenario. 🙂

        I KNOW those parking lots. I KNOW the chaos of the sheer number of people unloading from those parks. And the utter exhaustion after a day spent there! Just reading this makes me tired and frustrated. Gaaaaa!!! Do you see why I’m on the hunt now, and saving for a hiking GPS? I’ll use it for ALL facets of my life. Hahahah!

        January 17, 2013
  29. Cattle egrets are so common here – lots of cattle in Texas, after all! – but I can’t remember ever seeing one so clearly. It’s a beautiful bird, so alert and expressive. I’m sorry you had a bad week, but awfully glad this is your way of compensating. We all profit from it!

    January 15, 2013
    • You’re so kind… THANK you!! It gets better with each passing day, of course — and as much as I get out in this beauty, how can it not? 🙂

      You’re absolutely right — I see these guys so often, from afar — but seeing them up close, these seem so very sweet, something I never noticed previously. Perhaps it was the setting sun, or my state of mind, who knows….

      January 15, 2013
  30. Lovely, lovely egrets, Fey Girl.

    January 16, 2013
    • Thanks so very much! As much as I see them, it’s never this close…. And they really are sweet and lovely. 🙂

      January 16, 2013
  31. And by cheering yourself up, you cheered me up too. What beautiful birds! So enchanting.
    BTW, astrologically, this is a doozy of a time. Lots of people are feeling stuck, depressed, restless and ready to move on to the next stage in their lives. It is getting better, and the planetary energies will loosen up a bit starting in February. The egrets will get you through the remainder of January.

    January 16, 2013
    • Ah, I’m so happy…. Thanks so much!! They really are sweet little things, aren’t they? As often as I see them, it’s rarely this close. As someone else said: A little Zen Master. Love it!

      AHHH….. You know, thanks for the reminder and confirmation of that little astrological bit! I read awhile ago, but it went through my brain like a sieve, And with everything that’s happened, well, it’s understandable. So MANY thanks for the reminder and hope that THIS TOO SHALL PASS.

      January 17, 2013
  32. Love him – a beacon of sanity in a mad world 🙂

    January 20, 2013
    • So very well said, so poetic! I love that. 🙂

      January 20, 2013
  33. Mother is always there for us. So good to know you as a kindred spirit

    January 26, 2013
    • Most definitely…. I rely on her incessantly, without fail. And ditto, thank you SO very much for all you do — kindred spirit in a most beautiful land!

      January 28, 2013
  34. It looks young. This blog reminds me of the time I was watching the sunset at Bonita Beach. I had pulled a chair to the edge of the water and saw no one else on the beach until I looked right and found myself sharing the sunset with a blue heron. It was only a few yards away, standing silently at ocean’s edge. Awesome and a once in a lifetime experience!

    January 28, 2013
    • Ah, that’s so wonderful…. These are the treasures that we definitely remember, and why we must continue to protect our natural spaces to allow for these future memories!! What a beautiful thing.

      January 28, 2013
  35. I’m revisiting your egrets. Yesterday when I was taking photographs of a great blue heron, I encountered a young family. The man of the family mentioned seeing a large white bird that he mistook for a heron so I told him about the egrets that migrate here. I have only seen one egret and that was the summer of 2011. I would love to see more and get photographs of them.

    February 4, 2013
    • Ah, do you know what kind of egret it was — did you happen to see it? I have some Great egrets I’m getting ready to upload… LOVELIES!!

      February 4, 2013

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