I started walking when I got home from vacation.

It’s all Mary’s fault, of course.

She can walk like nobody’s business — she does a quick 2 miles most mornings, in about half an hour. It seems like I spent most of my life running  behind her, trying to catch up.  Ah, a younger sister’s lot.

But she walks, even bounces along, all day — an energizer bunny — who has a wonderful time with her life. I envied her ease of movement and her stamina, and much like in my younger years, wanted to be just like Mary.

Thus, I came home and started walking.  The catch is, walking hurts. A lot.  But each evening I’ve done a slow circuit of the local flat park, which happens to have a lovely river view. There are several spots where one can rest and watch the French Broad River flow its slow and secret way north (yup, north — the third oldest river in the world flows northward through the mountains and then down through several convoluted mergings to the Gulf of Mexico).

Tonight (night 3) I got my reward. Two great blue herons and two friends.

About three-quarters of the way around, I glanced at the water to my left and saw the heron lurking on the far bank. It stalked along the bank with its ungainly dignity and measured stride.  Naturally I crossed to the nearest viewing deck and leaned on the railing to watch it. Two friends unexpectedly joined me — just as I was yearning to share this sweet moment.

As we watched and chatted, a second heron flew in to join the first. They squabbled a bit, then took flight for a quick circuit of the river…soaring off from there with flashing wings. One’s flight path low, so it’s wingtips broke the surface on each beat, leaving wingprints on the sliding dark of evening waters.

So, I’m thinking I’ll walk again tomorrow evening, and probably the night after that, too.

P.S. These lovely photos are stock ones from the web — I only wish I could take shots this nice!