Well, hello because I know it’s been a while… just wanted to catch up a little and at least show you some pictures.

It’s been that time of year, when we move out of the house for summer rental, and this year we moved back in and then out again last Sunday.  I also went down to Virginia for our niece’s wedding.  So there I was, sitting in the chapel at William and Mary College, all lined up in two pews with my siblings and our families.  And my beautiful niece Amelia, came down the aisle on my brother George’s arm.  And I thought, “Isn’t that adorable? Amelia is all dressed up and pretending to get married.” 

That’s because a real wedding was impossible, with her being fourteen years old and all.  Because I really hadn’t caught up with the fact that she was a grown-up, an actual grown-up woman.  I mean, I really didn’t think that she should drive.  And then I remembered our wedding, when Amelia was a toddler, when she had to be carried down the aisle in her flower girl dress.  And then I remembered how it was that day, with all of the elders, all of the aunties.  And then I realized that my sisters and I were now those aunties.  All of those older people who are not at the beginning of everything as Amelia is, but well into the middle or the end of the middle, and that is being optimistic.  We sat in our pews all together, and because the pews were lined up along the sides of the sanctuary, it felt like we were on a panel, a panel of aunties and uncles and parents who carried the past for our families and were watching the future coming down the aisle.

Bill and I have been going through a period of adjustment these past few months, since our last golden retriever, Molly, has died.  Speaking for myself, I will say that I haven’t recognized myself without our Molly and without our Wilson who died the year before her.  I’ve been feeling like the shell of someone.  I’ve been doing my tasks and all, but I’ve been feeling like I can only inhabit the surface of my life.

But it’s better now.  While I can’t imagine a future without them, I am starting to allow my memories, and those are starting to feel more beautiful than sad, and life and love are starting to feel like a thread that continues, that that is pulling my heart back into my body.

When we were in Virginia, we stayed on a Navy base, and on that base was a rookery, a place where Blue Heron and Great White Egrets were raising their babies. There were hundreds of them, more than I’ve ever seen, flying around.  I mean, it was incredible.  I've never seen anything like it.  I took thousands of pictures, and now I will be able to keep us in egrets for the rest of all of our lives. 

It’s hard to handle that many pictures, just to choose which ones to show you.  So first I’ve decided to show you the ones with the simplest backgrounds so you can see the egrets in the easiest possible way, see them in all of their glory.

I want to show you this egret, show you her charcoal legs, the way she stands, the gold in her eye, those lovely wisps of trailing feathers, the blaze of her beak, the touch of green around her eye, the reflection of the light on the water against her chest. 

Why is she so beautiful?  And who is her beauty for?  I mean, she doesn’t see herself, she doesn’t even know.  Could it be for us, a little?  Maybe partly?  I mean, so that we will make a connection?  I mean, don’t we need her beauty?  Doesn’t it sustain us, like food, like air, when we can really see her?

I’m always trying to get closer.  I had an 800 mm lens on my camera, and I still cropped into the first pictures so that you could see her details.  And now I want to show you how she really was, standing alone, with the big world all around her.  And of course the scene was bigger than I can even show you, bigger in every direction, bigger than we can imagine, bigger than the world.  And there she was.  And I thought that she had courage, and then I thought it wasn’t courage, that she was just living her life, doing the next thing in front of her.  And then I thought that maybe her babies were right around the corner, and that in any case, she was not alone at all, but connected in beauty to everything.

And then I thought, “How could she possibly be more beautiful than she is right now?” 

But then again, I realized that she could fly.