I doubt if anyone in my family would argue my tinge of quirkiness. I don't mind.
My eyes envelop the room where I sit writing and I smile at the happy gifts that surround me. All three girls have contributed their part: a swim-suited duck by his cabana ready for the water, a large bouncing bird with an unbelievably curly head, penguins, musical ducks, amorous frogs, so much more. Some were expected to become lawn ornaments but never made it beyond the door.
Standing by my window is a heron topping out at just over two feet. A magnificent bird of plastic. Very life-like if one doesn't look too closely, he is hollow and much too fragile to be allowed outdoors in our Cassadaga winds. He might even be tempted to leave the property. So inside he stays bringing joy every time I see him anew.
I've seen similar in catalogues or in the garden shop I visited in Vermont. Nice bird to have around.
I must be hopelessly naive because I accepted my bird without question. And I have to admit he fits right in, certainly not looking out of place among my menagerie.
Finally, however, the truth sank in: this was not a common everyday living room decoration. In fact it wasn't a "decoration" at all. He's a decoy!
For what purpose?
I suppose property owners (some) might feel a standing (quietly, very quietly) heron would chase off less desirable birds though I don't know what they'd be.
I'm not a hunter (or much of a fisherman for that matter) but I believe decoys are used to either attract or chase off whatever needs to be attracted or chased.
I have watched crows go after the heron (the real one) and was told their size made them appear offensive. I would think a crow wiser than that.
I suspect that a decoy heron is expected be to attractive enough (in I guess a heron-sexy sort of way) to make a potential mate swoop in for a closer look. In that case, I imagine, a hunter waiting nearby would quickly finish off the visiting bird. In spite of their loveliness, they do have a real taste for fish fish that a fisherman might prefer to place in his own mouth.
Can there be a season for herons? Granting exception to our eagles, I can't imagine another bird as stunning.
All right. Time to be educated. I know only that there must be a connection between the bird and the fishes.
Hang up your rifles, hunters! There is absolutely positively no season on great blue herons.
Turns out some believe herons are so territorial if one sees another already by his pond or pool, he (or she, I suppose) will go looking for a new hangout. Herons are great lovers of fish and so are the proud owners of koi, other decorative fish or well-stocked ponds or lakes.
Somebody obviously thought planting a decoy at water's edge would do the job. I watched a great video of an inquisitive heron who walked right up to the decoy, the better to get well-acquainted.
Personally, I don't worry. I have enough fish and truly do love to watch the herons. They stand so very patiently for much longer than I would or could. Then head back and down goes the little fishie. I also rejoice every time one flies by my window, legs straight out behind looking not too unlike an arrow shot through the air.
My heron it goes by the name of George can stay where it is.
Waiting. Perhaps watching.
Susan Crossett has lived outside Cassadaga for over twenty years. A lifetime of writing led to these columns as well as two novels. Her Reason for Being was published in 2008 with Love in Three Acts due this month. Information on all the Musings, the books and the author can be found at Susancrossett.com.