Many many times over the past 4 traveling years I found myself staring at these beautiful animals, flying over my head, or standing still in shallow waters waiting for prays. Urban parks, natural reserves, mountain valleys, piers, pebble beaches, roads, big cities, at home and faraway… Until I got used to wait for them to appear, as traveling won’t be the same without one of these magical encounters.
Herons belong to the Ardeidae family, a Latin name given by the city of Ardea in central Italy. Ovid tells that the bird first appeared during the war between Enea and Turno, when the city was burnt down: a heron would fly out of its ashes, hence getting its name.
When I first found out about the legend, the idea of a bird flying out of ashes brought me images of Phoenixes, and magical transformation, and renewal process. Such events are usually associated with springtime, but I believe they are actually happening constantly, in more or less evident ways. Somehow I and herons keep crossing our paths, and this in itself feels like a lesson to learn.
Then one cloudy day, in an English garden, a heron landed. Right in front of me, as it was the most obvious thing to do. I was inside the house, but still for these animals it is not usual to get that close to human-inhabited places. I was bewitched. I knew the house was on herons’ migration route, but I had never seen one stop on the lawn before.
I kept staring at it from the window, and after a few seconds the big, elegant bird flew up to the neighbors’ roof, and then spent some time showing off up there, giving me plenty of chances to picture him before he was off to his adventures again.
The idea stroke me then. I was looking for a blog name, and it had just come to me embodied in my most faithful and magical travel companion. Heron on the roof it was, and although some time has passed since then, I never had a doubt it was just the right name for this new adventure.
In the picture you can see some of the herons I met. From above: on Stanley Park’s waterfront in Vancouver BC; in the Teich Bird Reserve (a place of beauty, just a quick train ride from Bordeaux –> https://www.reserve-ornithologique-du-teich.com ); on a Wiltshire roof (!) and pic-a-booing from the water lilies in St James’s Park (London). The artwork is from me.