By David DeWitt
It was a family outing that was not going well. Everyone was grumgry, the term we use for deteriorating emotional states in absence of sustenance. We had packed a picnic but 30 minutes into our journey we noticed the gas light was blinking. We probably would not make it unless we back-tracked to a gas station.
Erin hates back-tracking for any reason. I personally don’t mind it. I once back-tracked three hundred miles to retrieve my wallet, which I had left at a service station. I was traveling across the desert in the southwest at the time and I got to experience the same spectacular sunset two nights in a row. But I was also traveling alone.
Now I was in a car with two other loved ones. And grumgry was transmuting to hangry.
I had just completed the U-turn and Finn was beginning to whine about our extended trip.
A large heron flew above the road just ahead of us.
“Oh look! See the heron?!” I said, hoping to end the complaining with some nature fascination.
“Where?” he said, “I can’t see it!”
The angle was such that he couldn’t see it from the back seat of the car.
“Right there!” I pointed, desperately wanting him to see it but trying to keep my eyes on the road.
“I don’t see it!” he said.
Suddenly the heron veered out of sight.
“Oh, sorry,” I said, “It just flew behind the trees.”
“Naaaooooo!” he sobbed. “Now I’ll never see the heron! Ahhhh!”
I was kind of kicking myself because I had made a similar mistake with a hummingbird sighting a few weeks before. But it’s kind of a reflex.
He eventually calmed down, we got gas, had our picnic, went on a short hike but were still not in the best of moods. Maybe ice-cream would cheer us up.
We went to a place that shall remain nameless and the servings were so small I actually thought mine was a tasting. After that I was the grumpy one. Nothing kills the spirit more than being underserved with ice-cream.
We needed to end the day on a high note.
Not wanting to head home just yet, we were driving around sort of aimlessly and soon realized we weren’t far from the Saugerties Lighthouse. We decided on one last hike.
As we were winding through the trails and boardwalks, I looked across the shallow marsh and in the distance saw a lone slim silhouette standing in the water. It was a white heron.
This time I was little more cautious.
“Finn, do you see anything interesting out there?” I said.
It was a little far off but he saw it almost immediately. Thank goodness. Though I was ready to say something like, “Aren’t those amazing lily pads?”
Our day trip had been a jumble of detours and false starts until that last piece fell into place. Suddenly a puzzling excursion had been reworked into a graceful mosaic.