I can’t pull over to photograph the egrets standing in the fields adjacent to Highway 160. With no shoulder, and the press of early morning traffic, I can only slow and risk the inevitable bleat of an impatient horn. But I behold their lovely stride, their incredible agility; and my heart flutters.
I do not understand how these creatures choose the spots on which they perch in the tender shoots of the fall crop. Yards span between a handful of single birds, each in its small domain. They step with delicate care from plot to plot, seeming to have no genuine thought of effort. I creep westward, my eyes lingering on the vivid white of their feathers and the slow, persistent motion of their dainty pace.
By the time I get to the bridge, my heart pounds and my lungs tense with the pressure of holding my breath. I’ve been afraid to exhale, for fear one of these marvelous beings will rise in panic. I cross the Sacramento thinking, for perhaps the hundredth time, of my amazing good fortune at discovering the California Delta. Where else could my morning shine with the dazzling light reflected from the dew on a thousand newborn leaves, lush and verdant; amid which an egrets sketches out its effortless dance? This grace — this painfully beautiful grace — carries me through the hours of an otherwise mundane life.
It’s the twenty-fourth day of the fifty-seventh month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.