The Great Blue Heron and The Editor

heron

If tent caterpillars were something of a leitmotif for the earliest blogs, this entry’s icon is the heron. This poetic bird is both above and below, both transcendent and inside the natural world. Obviously, there is everything to say about the wonder felt for the great blue heron.

History of the Heron

The word heron is old and of uncertain origin. It appeared in the English language around 1300 A.D. Some say it may have originated from the Latin aerius, meaning aerial, or from Old French’s hairon.  The species called the great blue heron — Ardea herodias — was originally described by Carl Linnaeus in his 18th century Systema Naturae.

This highly mobile bird is cosmopolitan (almost). Additionally, the heron exists on all continents except Antarctica, and it is present in most habitats except the coldest extreme of the Arctic, the high mountains, and the dry deserts.

heron
No one eats the heron.

Associated with water, but essentially a non-swimmer, the heron feeds on the margins of lakes, rivers, swamps, ponds and the sea. Earth-bound, the neck and beak kink into an S-shape, but upon lift off, with wings outspread, its legs and feet held backward, its long neck retracts.

Literary Affects

In Surfacing, Margaret Atwood calls a heron in flight a “bluegrey cross” http://margaretatwood.ca/books/surfacing/. Similarly, when the central character Yasmine in Dionne Brand’s “Ossuaries” crosses the Niagara River into Canada, her arrival is heralded by this quintessential image:

“Call it heron, great blue, long-legged migrating alone

North, it broke off, it took air,

Flew into an apostrophe,

Heading to the wet marsh of another lake.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVsNnrEJxB0

I love how she makes the bird into a punctuation mark.

The Symbolic Heron

The image I chose for this page is not the heron in flight but the motionless bird mirrored in shallow water.  Calculating, probing, peering beyond the surface, this bird is a cryptic symbol of editors. We also take a wide field of view , do a lot of foot stirring, and move our heads from side to side to read the depths.

Therefore, the surface is my computer screen, a portal through which I communicate with you. The text is our mirror, both of us working on it from our two sides.

heron
The heron’s other doubled self–a shadowy mirror.

 

 

 

Getting Verified: My New ProofWorking Website

Each time I edit my slugs and snippets, or whenever I activate a verification code through my new plugin tool Yoast SEO, I feel certain I am getting my new website ProofWorking ready to enter into the great unknown, to swim off into the depths, to find the like-minded, to school with the big fish. Blessings to my website! I hope you have it in you to find your way up to the top.

I don’t know why I’m using a piscine metaphor for my site as I’m really more earth than water. Instead, I’ll plug in another theme: caterpillars. They preoccupy me too. Especially when I am out on the back deck, hanging someone’s unmentionables on the clothes rack, watching the tightly coiled nest of tent caterpillars shake in the wind. Of course I wonder, when will you hatch?

Here are a few pictures of their deeply horrifying nests.

proofworking: they eat, they edit
nest of caterpillars
Tent Caterpillars

That first web has a dark ominous coil of life at the centre. Heavy with teeming hairy slugs, each ready to worm its way out and down, down the end branches of some kind of big tree. I know the larvae will change into moths or butterflies, but what type? Will I think they are lovely when they take to wing? Because I surely do not love them now, swinging around in their soiled webs, sucking the life out of the leaves, making ready for the great hatching.

Notice how generic I am about some life forms, but specific about others. Like the female protagonist who descended into the core of her psyche in Margaret Atwood’s *Surfacing*, have I lost the grammar that I know once existed, unlearned the tools for naming things? Trees, flowers, unmentionables. I need to edit those words. So instead of bug, worm, larvae — TENT CATERPILLAR, and more specifically, Malacosoma disstria.

That’s what “to edit” means. FACT CHECK it, RESEARCH it, CLARIFY the writing. So let’s start there with some “proofworking.” Edit, Edit, Edit!!!