(These herons were photographed in South America and South Africa).
is the long-necked, long-bodied heron,
always it is a surprise
when her smoke-colored wings
and she turns
from the thick water,
from the black sticks
of the summer pond,
rises into the air
and is gone.
Then, not for the first or the last time,
I take the deep breath
of happiness, and I think
how unlikely it is
that death is a hole in the ground,
that ascension is not possible,
though everything seems so inert, so nailed
back into itself–
the muskrat and his lumpy lodge,
the fallen gate.
And especially it is wonderful
that the summers are long
and the ponds so dark and so many,
and therefore it isn’t a miracle
but the common thing,
this trailing of the long legs in the water,
this opening up of the heavy body
into a new life: see how the sudden
gray-blue sheets of her wings
strive toward the wind; see how the clasp of nothing
takes her in.
Cheers to you from Mary Oliver’s Heavenly Herons~
Source: Heron Rises From The Dark, Summer Pond, Mary Oliver.
219 thoughts on “Memories of Mary~”
beautiful words matched with amazing photos. thank you for sharing.
Thank you more for appreciating <3
Fascinating, and beautiful poetry. Standing on hippos. Who knew?
You are THE master of bird photography.
You are a very dear friend <3
What a beautiful poem!
It was a beautiful way to start my day.
You just added a smile to my day, thank you <3
I love the GBH hippo surfing. You got a really nice variety of herons.
Thank you Timothy & cheers from the hippo surfers!
Beautiful words and photos. 🙂
Thank you my friend and very happy you enjoyed~
One of my abiding memories of travelling through New England is the sheer numbers of herons we saw – thank you, Cindy, for these fabulous photos and a nudge to my reflections on a great trip 🙂
So pleased they triggered happy memories for you and thank you for letting me know <3
Totally awesome post. Thank you, Cindy.
Awww, thank you for such an awesome comment <3
Lovely poem, and thanks for showing life beyond my own land. Beautiful.
Thank you for appreciating different lands & be well.
That focus and concentration! 💛
I know. It is incredible. And everything they do is in such slow motion which seems to defy the laws of everything. especially lift off. Love to you Maiko.
Lovely poem, and I love your photos. I have been readjng poems by Mary Oliver this week, myself!
Jung would call this synchronicity, and I would agree with him <3
Fabulous photography, Cindy, and matched so beautifully to the verse. It was a privilege to read. Thank you, and have a great week! 🙂 🙂
Love to you Jo & thank you <3
So graceful and beautiful.
Sorry- wasn’t trying to be “anonymous”! I love herons.
I <3 people who <3 herons, and besides this, I love you Donna <3
So graceful and beautiful.
Yes they are, most birds defy logic.
most fitting 🙂
Mary was a brilliant and soulful lady <3
Fabulous post 💛
Grazie mille <3
Beautiful birds (and photos of them).
Thank you & cheers too <3
Beautiful words and superb photographs – lovely to see some of ‘my’ herons too!
Yes!!! Gorgeous Africa. I want to come back! Two trips was not enough <3
What amazing and beautiful captures… Fabulous post! Thanks for sharing, Cindy.
Such thoughtful words Isabel. They are most appreciated <3
Lovely pictures and lovely words make good companions.
Happy you enjoyed and thank you!
Stellar photographs; I especially like the details of the feet. 🙂
Their feet are amazing aren’t they. So lethal and so well designed.
Cindy, these photos are beautiful and I loved the poem. You are really the best wildlife photographer I’ve ever seen!
Awwww, so incredibly kind and so appreciated. Thank you my friend & be well <3
Fabulous photos, wonderful words = great post 😊
Honored, thank you & cheers too!
Beautiful photos and charming prose Cindy.
Merci beaucoup mon ami Sheree <3
These photos are just gorgeous, a perfect pairing with Mary’s poem. She’s one of my favorites. Thank you, Cindy, for this gift of beauty today! ♥.
Thank you Niki for letting me know that Mary’s poems resonate with you as they do with me <3
Oh yes. I fell in love with Mary Oliver when I read that poem about “…your one wild precious life” — I forget the name of the poem. 💕.
The Summer Day! <3
That’s it. =) ♥.
wie immer toll, liebe Cindy, ich sag mal, passe auf dich auf und hole dir keinen Sonnenbrand, Klaus
Danke mein Freund und bleib cool! <3
Photographs as excellent as ever with equally good captions
Ahhhh, you are a kind friend. Thank you Derrick & cheers to you~
Just beautiful birds and those eyes!! 🙂 wonderful Cindy..
Bird eyes draw you in with their sentience and mystery!
Toujours des photos d’un piqué exceptionnel. Excusez ma curiosité mais quel est votre matériel ? Encore bravo pour vos clichés.
Merci beaucoup. J’utilise le Sony HX 400 pour les photos d’oiseaux. À la vôtre et merci
Beautiful images Cindy and I love this poem by Mary Oliver 🙂💖 xxx
I do too and thank you. It is a wonderful poem, of such depth and beauty, like Mary herself <3
Perfect images for a lovely poem! 😀 <3
Thank you Linda & so wonderful to hear from you! Hope all is well with you <3
so very fine!!
Honored. Thank you!
A beautiful series of the various herons! Love the heron standing on the hippopotamus; I have a photo of a great blue marching over the backs of turtles as it stalked fish.
Hilarious! They are most inventive birds!
Beautiful captures of these birds. Love those deep color eyes.
Thank you my friend. Birds have mesmerizing eyes!
I love Mary’s poems and this is a new one to me, deliciously paired with your beautiful photos Cindy. Thanks for reminding us to fly free in spirit. <3
You are most welcome. It is good to know our spirits are free <3
Ha, ha. At least one of us. 🙂
Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
Beautiful words and photos shared by Cindy Knoke.
Thank you for your thoughtfulness sweet friend and have a wonderful Sunday <3
Beautiful Birds. Love it:)
Merci beaucoup and I am glad you do <3
I agree with John RH! You are a master photographer. The poetry of this struck a nerve. Somewhere in there is the phrase “see how the clasp of nothing” said these creatures fly no matter how large they are because they don’t have to haul their world with them. They don’t move from space to space with truckloads of stuff. I think it would be lovely to be that free to fly and fly that free. Thanks for this.
Yes, the poem strikes such a chord with me too. “see how the clasp of nothing
takes her in.” <3
It speaks to me of how the unseen and mysterious can have great power. Mary was just brilliant.
Absolutely fantastic pictures!
Ahhhh, I am honored. Thank you sincerely!
That first photo with the heron on the back of a hippo – wow how did you get that photo?
I took a series of photos at Sunset Dam in Kruger National Park of herons surfing on the back of hippos, and landing and taking off of them too. The hippos didn’t mind at all. It was hilarious!
Stunning images, Cindy! I especially like the fifth photo from the top.
Thank you Peter. Happy you enjoyed the birdies & cheers!
Excellent shots Cindy! I admire the concentration of these birds…captured so well.
They are quite intent aren’t they!
Beautiful! Words and pictures!
Thank you Ute & cheers too <3
Your images are breathtaking, and are examples of the gorgeous abundance in nature.
Thank you very much and yes nature gifts us with so much overwhelming beauty.
Beautiful post, Cindy! And stellar photography as always!
Most kind & so happy you enjoyed them. Cheers to you <3
I love how you capture these beauties! Beautiful poem, Cindy!
So happy you enjoyed them Amy & thank you for stopping by! I was just over at your blog admiring your photos. <3
Grazie mille Hilary <3
So wonderful pictures of the big birds! I really like your photos. It is nice to follow your blog 🙂
Oh, well thank you! It is wonderful following your blog too <3
This poem could only have come from Mary Oliver! Such lovely photos to illustrate it, Cindy. I especially am mesmerized by these birds’ eyes and feathers!
Mary and her herons! Pure wonder. I am very happy you enjoyed Debbie & cheers to you <3
OMC…this was so beautiful, Cindy💗COOL Pawkisses for a Hot Summer’s Day🐾😽💞
Hugs and kisses back to you sweet guys <3
You are welcome.
I love Mary Oliver. A wonderful duet poetry with photos…
She is amazing isn’t she, and I know you would love her as I do Rebecca <3
Such a gift for words she had – as do you with your camera, Cindy. <3
Sweet friend. I took photos of my sweet peas today and thought of you <3
Aw, that’s so sweet of you to say. It warms my heart. 🙂
It’s true <3
Absolutely beautiful, Cindy. Your stunning images pair so well with Oliver’s stunning poetry!
Thank you Patti & Mary will be sorely missed <3
Grazie Mille Gary!
They’re naturals on camera
They are made for the spotlight!
Many thanks to you and Mary Oliver for the perfect interplay between word and image.
Hugs to you Liz & thank you too <3
And heavenly photos. I was not familiar with this poem, but guessed almost immediately that it must be Mary Oliver. Love her work.
Not surprised you do! Thank you Alison <3
Absolutely fabulous, Cindy!
Awww, I love my blogging buddies!
A wonderful collection. I like watching the ones on the beach patiently waiting … and designed for a quick strike. On the down side, I find their eyes to be a bit creepy.
They remind me of dinosaurs. I had a Great Blue Heron on my doorstep a few years back. I walked by the door and saw it through the glass and the immediate thought that went through my mind was, “There’s dinosaur at the door!”
Stunning and that last photo…wow, what an ending.
You are an awesome friend <3
Pingback: Memories of Mary~ — (incredible photographs by Cindy Knoke…look at all of them) | Rethinking Life
Gratitude to you sweet friend <3
Just lovely! 🙂
So kind! Thank you!
Lovely to connect with you, Cindy! Your photos are stunning with words to match 🙂
It is lovely to meet you and I admire your courage <3
Thank you for the encouragement, Cindy. 🙏🏻
It is well deserved.
What a great photo!Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.
Very pleased you enjoyed & cheers to you!
Amazing shots. 🙂 Thank you for sharing them.
Thank you more for appreciating them!
Gorgeous photos, Cindy….those herons are such exhibitionists! 🙂
Yes they are and slow to give up the spotlight!
Gorgeous birds, and lovely words.
Grazie mille <3
Nice. They are heavenly.
Thank you Darnell & cheers to you my friend~
Stunning photos of the birds. Great job.
Thank you Mary Ann & happy week <3
Much appreciated. To you as well.
Finally enjoying a few days of summer weather here. Hope you are also.
Wow. Yellow stockings, yellow shoes, blue caps & gorgeous feathers. How very fashionable! ❤
Not a bit afraid to mix up those colors!
The heron on top of the hippo is priceless. We had the same type of heron on our lake in Michigan and I took many great photos but of course the “hippo” is missing 🙂
Laughing…the hippo definitely adds the ‘local flavor’ element! 😉
Where I live, the only heron that is at all blue is the bluish gray “great blue” heron. (While it is indeed great, I dislike having the word in the name when there is no “little blue” heron.) The blue heron’s flight is remarkable, but my fondest heron memory is of one so intent on foraging that my walking by a pond did not spook it into flight:
Ignoring pink and
yellow lilies, blue heron
stabs and swallows fish.
Too bad your eye and camera were not there.
Everything you wrote here is pure poetry, with the added remarkableness of being completely true. I know of each bird you speak, and especially the little blue heron, but mostly you caught so perfectly, the intensiveness of heron concentration. It is beyond Zen. It is before Zen. These are old birds. Your heron was intent on hunting, but not so intent, that she was unable to recognize you were not a threat to her. Birds are mysterious this way. They seem to know. And you are remarkable for feeling this. Your poem captures this perfectly and beautifully. I wish I was there, so I could add my photos to your thoughts.
I love these graceful birds in their somewhat reptilian throwback selves. The poem and images brought tears to my eyes, Cindy.
Your tears are why we resonate with/recognize each other. Aren’t we lucky to have met <3
Beautiful birds – beautiful words. <3
Thank you, beautiful friend <3
It looks both of them – hipo and heron, feel comfortable 🙂.
Thank you for introducing this interesting poem.
Thank you for your thoughtful comments.
Magnificent images paired with a wonderful poem. Fabulous post, Cindy. 🙂 Birds are amazing!
Thank you Jane. Birds are so lucky. They can fly away from us!
Great photos and variety. 🙂
Thank you very much for letting me know you like this & cheers to you.
How surprising to me that your title was “Memories of Mary,” when I wrote today about my sister Mary and her recommendation of John Osteen’s preaching. I almost felt a little off kilter. How I love your photography! I’m glad you found my site, so I could find yours.
It sounds like synchronicity, a coincidence that maybe isn’t. It am happy to find you too, her in blogdom, where I meet the nicest people ever. <3
Also, I never heard of Mary Oliver, but what a beautiful poem that went so well with your wildlife photography. Thanks for sharing the beauty of our world.
Thank you more for your thoughtfulness and for appreciating the beauty and Mary Oliver’s beautiful and powerful words. <3
Grazie mille <3
Cindy, thank you for this wonderful and stunning combination of photography and poetry!
You are such a special friend Charles. Thank you!
Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
Here is a stunning combination of photography and poetry from Cindy Knoke!
Happy 4th to you and yours Charles & sincere thank you for your thoughtfulness.
I know I already commented on this post, although I’m not sure from which blog; Art Gowns or GLAM. Anyway, I had about 10 days of my comments going into SPAM folders. First it was one, then 2, then everyone’s. Akismet wasn’t sure why, but they did something and said I should be fine going ahead, however what is in SPAM will stay there unless the blog host approves the comment.
You might find me in your SPAM folder. LOL! Anyway, yesterday was okay for commenting, so let’s hope this comment works. Sheesh!
This happened to me once, because I commented on too many posts which made me look like spam. No good deed goes unpunished! I will despam you <3
YAY!! It worked!
Gorgeous images and a lovely tribute to my all-time favorite Poet. Sitting on my desk is her book Why I wake Early which I read all the time.
This post captures her spirit I think.
Isn’t she wonderful! A friend of Mary is a friend of mine. No wonder we understand each other <3
Cindy, how did you survive the earthquake?
There has been a cluster of quakes and two big ones. We are fine, thank you Alexander, waiting to see if a bigger one is on the way.
Good to know. However it’s not ended. Be careful!
they are too fast and so quick to follow
A beautiful, heronly tribute.
<3 your adjective! <3
Beautiful pictures with graceful herons and topped with amazing words. You made it all go perfectly together!
I am very happy you enjoyed and thank you for taking the time to tell me <3
Wow, Cindy. You’ve truly outdone yourself with this post. It is a gift, so thank you. Your prose is even more beautiful than your photos… if that’s possible. I love herons anyway. Hugs on the wings.
You are an awesome friend Teagan. Hugs back to you <3
Thank you for this wonderful combination of poem and pictures. <3
Beautiful, yet sad somehow. Lovely poetic verse too. They are such graceful creatures.
Yes, joyfully melancholic, a beautiful ambivalence.