Every morning I park at the TunaU Stadium and take a short walk to get to the office. My route includes crossing the footbridge that spans the Red Cedar River. Generally speaking, mornings are bleary-eyed affairs, and I consider myself lucky if I don't fall on my face or get run over by an equally bleary-eyed student on a bike.
The Red Cedar river is home to lots of things (many of which do not belong in a river) and is the home territory to the mighty ducks. There are A LOT of ducks around here, and they form the aquatic branch of the TunaU animal mafia. Between the ducks and squirrels, if have food, you might as well just hand it over and keep going. They're a tough crowd.
As I was crossing the river this morning something caught my eye, so I stopped. It was hard to see because the morning was very overcast and the river was dark grey, but in the shadows I thought I saw a big heron. I've seen it once or twice before, and always consider myself lucky when our paths cross. I stood there for quite awhile, trying to make sure I wasn't marveling at a big stick (which I must admit, has been known to happen). It was too dark to tell, so quietly, I took a few more steps across the bridge. As I did, the light shifted to the center of the river, and there was the heron, standing in the middle of the stream. It had been there the whole time.
Neither the heron nor I moved for several minutes. As I looked back up the still-darkened bridge, I smiled, thinking how glad I was that I moved out of the shadows and into the light. If I hadn't changed my perspective, I might have missed something special.
I guess I am lucky.