I grew up on Cape Cod, an island off the coast of Massachusetts.? Wildlife was plentiful, and we engaged ourselves in the natural beauty of the land and the sea . . . fishing, clamming, tending lobster pots.? Seagulls were everywhere, piping plovers were protected in the dunes, and coyotes yelped during their nightly prowls.

But I had a favorite above all others.? I loved watching the Great Blue Heron, plentiful in the marshes and wetlands, as they flew overhead with only an occasional flap their large wings.? When my daughters were young, I would bring them with me to look for Great Blue Heron at Crab Creek in our town of Yarmouth, or make sure I drove slowly by the creek in the off-chance we would see one standing motionless at water’s edge waiting for a meal to swim by.

Patient, silent, still, perched among the reeds, perfectly in keeping with the moment . . . . . if a small fish or frog were to happen by, the Heron was ready to strike without hesitation.? Action appropriate to time and place, instinct in the flow of the Great Tao.? No thought, only action.? Stillness within and without.

I think of the Great Blue Heron often, and regularly send my daughters photos I come across online even today, more than 30 years later.? I seek that same harmony with the Great Tao enjoyed by this magnificent bird.

This is why we meditate, practice qigong and play taiji.? To cultivate stillness, to learn patience, to be present in the moment, and to act appropriately to time and place.? To be in the flow of the Great Tao. To be the Great Blue Heron.