October 16, 2007
Along the canal
When I take a walk along the canal with my friend Signing Woman, I am always prepared for dramatic interruptions that come without warning. Right in the midst of a conversation, she'll suddenly go silent, her head swishing to the side, her legs suddenly stopped as she points toward a bird, a butterfly, or even an insect. So many of my friends are naturalists that I am quite used to this behavior, although it doesn't stop me from teasing them about it. And I admit, when I am with someone like that, I end up seeing all kinds of things I probably wouldn't have noticed.
The other day, Signing Woman told me, she was walking along the canal, stopping as usual at every bird or unusual plant when she saw something you don't get to see very often: a great blue heron, standing still, eating a fish.
"You could actually see the fish going down the throat," she said.
A young woman was running by, wearing headphones and an iPod, and Signing Woman started signaling to her. The young woman couldn't hear anything because of the music in her ears, but Signing Woman, who works as an interpreter, is very good at hand motions.
Young iPod Woman stopped and looked. They both watched the heron, with Signing Woman giving whispered facts about the bird.
"Isn't that cool?" Signing Woman whispered.
The young woman nodded. "I don't usually see stuff like that," she said. "I come here everyday, but I usually just run by fast, listening to music, zoning out."
They watched the bird for a little longer, sharing the moment, then smiled at each other, and went their separate ways.
Posted by jo(e)