Wandering down the chilly beach today, trying to think peaceful thoughts, I came upon a large heron in its last hours. it was disconcerting to see such a formerly majestic bird laying on its back, spread as if on a crucifix beneath the sand with its feet pointed toward the ocean and its head resting on its chest staring wistfully at the sky.
it gave a small cry as I approached but said nothing further.
indeed, it died more quietly than I imagine its sisters did. beneath the watery winter sun it was eulogized by the rising tide with a cairn of broken seashells and, for flowers, man-o-war jellyfish washed ashore and gleaming.