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Goats & Egrets

St. Lucia: SOURCE OF INSPIRATION & INNER PEACE

People draw inspiration and inner peace from a wide variety of sources.  Birds soaring above provide it for a great number of people.  There is something about the act of soaring through the air that seems so free and unfettered.  It is that sense of being unfettered, and the peace of that gentle gliding that people respond to.  While we know we have responsibilities, we tend to drop that stress of obligations sitting on our shoulders when we watch birds soaring so freely.  Of course that is a passing moment, but one to be enjoyed nonetheless.  When you can have that feeling for prolonged periods of time; that is when you feel the benefits of true relaxation and peace.

First thing in the morning, before the day with its planned activities take over; I watch these beautiful white birds enter our valley.  They “make an entrance” into the valley every day. And at the end of the day they “take their leave”.  When I first started watching this ritual, I thought maybe they were doves. First, one beautiful white bird would fly from over the mountains on the far side of the valley, and traverse the area going the length of the valley on one side, then coming back on the other side.  Then more white birds (sometimes as many as 11 or 12 of them) would join the first one.  They enter this valley from over the mountains on the far side of the valley. They fly up and down the valley a few times, doing loops and circles as they go.  They sometimes break into two or three groups; then they begin to settle in various places.  The pattern is not set, which makes it interesting to watch them as they make their graceful sweeps of the valley, and one by one, drop down to settle for a while. 

Just before sunset, the birds begin to gather again through a process of sailing back and forth through the valley.  Then they fly over the ridge on the other side of the valley, I presume to settle in for the night.  Sometimes I see one beautiful white bird make the final pass through the valley - solo.

After a few months, I found out these are the Cattle Egrets that feed on the insects that are found around grazing cattle (here that means cows, goats, and horses.)  Finding out exactly what kind of bird it is and why they are here has not changed how they make me feel.  The way they soar, brings peace, calm, and inspiration.