Friday, February 11, 2011

The Great Blue Heron

This is probably a "had-to-be-there" story, but the problem is, I was the only one there... and it wasn't funny at the time. Let's call it, "The Great Blue Heron".

When I was younger, I used to work at a gas station/ grocery store on a busy road out in the middle of the boonies. I know that sounds contradictory, but the store was surrounded by farmlands on all sides except one side which ran a busy highway coming from the border. This was before the invention of those nifty signs that digitally change the price of gas from the comfort of a warm office. We had to trek out into the farm fields and use what was essentially a large suction cup on the end of a very long pole to get the plastic numbers down from the sign and replace them with the correct numbers. On a side note, this was a very tricky business, and it used to cause us no end of amusement watching a newbie try out the changing of the sign.

One rainy day, I was so intent on hurriedly changing the sign, that I didn't notice that a large bird had alighted in the field less than 6 feet behind me. I heard the grass rustle behind me, and all of the hairs stood up on the back of my neck.... what was creeping up behind me???

There, standing behind me and staring at me, was a Blue Heron. To put this into perspective, this bird is approximately 4.5 feet tall. It was staring menacingly at me, with it's beak poised for attack (okay, okay, it was just standing there looking at me, but it seem very menacing at the time). I froze in place, holding my giant stick with a suction cup. I wondered if perhaps I should swing at the menacing bird?

I decided against that as it might anger the bird into a full fledged attack. I took steps very slowly backwards, inching my way back towards the store. The bird was still. Once I got to the edge of the field, I turned around and sprinted at full speed across the parking lot, not daring to look back at the heron. When I was finally safe inside the store, I gasped out my story to my co-workers, who laughed at me. "Hahaha, you ran away scared of a bird?? Hahaha" they taunted me. And now when I tell the story, it seems pretty funny to me too... but if you were faced with a bird of that magnitude, what would you do?

For the record, the bird pictured was captured by me on camera two days ago. I may have still be scared enough not to get out of the van... only pulled over to the side of the road and leaned out the window with my camera... ready to beat a hasty retreat at any sign of attack!


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