I went fishing today. As soon as I had baited the hook, cast it into the channel off of Sanibel, I got out my throw net to capture some live bait fish.
The entire time I was setting up my fishing position I was ignored by all of the other creatures of this area. However, as soon as the cast net came out I was immediately joined by two white Herons.
I didn’t know if I should take that as a slam of my fishing abilities or endorsement of my throw net prowess. The birds diligently followed me up and down the shore as I cast and retrieved, cast and retrieved, cast and retrieved.
This encouraged me. These were birds who had amazingly sharp vision and beaks that could snatch fish out of the water with blazingly fast speed. They had been superbly crafted by evolution to be successful at this.
Yet, here they were, waiting to benefit from my obvious evolutionary superiority, ability to use tools, innate intelligence, and apparent potential to capture bait fish.
They had seen creatures like myself engage in this activity and share the abundance, generally in the form of bait fish unsuitable in size to be useful.
So I threw the net with renewed enthusiasm, I would share my bounty with these beautiful birds who showed such faith in me. I resolved that I would capture sufficient bait fish to add to my fishing success and feed those who demonstrated unquestioned confidence.
When I finally reached that point wherein my resolve and determination had become frustration and embarrassment, I put down the net, looked at my companions, and tried to convey my most sincere apology for failure.
In one of those moment of intra-species communications, one of those marvelous times where the lack of a common language was in fact a benefit, the herons approached me, cautiously but deliberately.
One stood on my right side and the other on my left.
Each looked to me and then into the water, simultaneously snatching two perfect sized bait fish from the water. I believed for that moment that they were encouraging me to try again, don’t give up, don’t be discouraged.
As I went to pick up the net again, both of the herons let out a cry and flew off.
At that moment I realized what I had been, all along, was in their way!