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2018 Sep 4

15 minutes: the heron...

It peered carefully into the water, frozen for a second.

Searching.

It took a step, a slow one. Its foot entered the water. Its head tilted slightly. Looking. Scanning.

The water was murky. The sky was dark. Gray clouds floated overhead. Wind was shaking its feathers as it concentrated. This was no time to think about the weather. It could not afford that today. A shot rang out.

The heron did not miss a beat. Its attention was taken completely off the water as its enormous wings unfolded around it. Within a second it was in the air.

Another shot echoed through the marsh. The water began to disappear under it. Leafless trees zoomed away and grew smaller as it added distance between itself and the ground.

There was no sun this day. There was only murky darkness. And cold.

There. Another patch of water appeared below. Its attention darted towards it for an instant before it resolved to fly on. It made no predetermined measurements.

When its own heart had calmed, it landed once again in the marsh. And waded a few steps. Its beak shot into the water like a spear from a gun, but it came up empty. Again it tried, again it failed.

Its prey took off into deep water, leaving its foraging grounds behind it. This would not be a good day. The water was murky, cloudy. Mud from the bottom was being churned up.

It swam and swam, darting between the vegetation, out into the marsh. So many things it passed, so many things it ignored. It had no predetermined destination. It waited for its heart to calm before it slowed its pace.

There were boots in the water. It could not go that way. It knew what boots in the water meant for itself and its kind. It knew what to avoid.

The owner of the boots wasn't looking down. He had no net.

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