This weekend I got up early and headed out in my car. The morning was cool – a cold front had blown in during the night – and gray.

Turning on to the street at the end of my block, I startled a heron sitting in the middle of the road. It took flight, its large wings beating slowly but powerfully to lift it into the air. At the next intersection, it wheeled and flew over the outstretched branch of a live oak, bark carpeted in silver-gray lichen.

The live oaks are majestic trees. In this neighborhood, they are all at least one hundred years old. Some are much older.

There is a heron nest nearby, saved from a developer’s bulldozer by neighbors who banded together and bought the property back. I have a friend who lives on the other side of the boulevard and she too has a heron nest in her live oak.

The herons return every year. Neighbors out for a walk often stop and stare up into the trees.

I like to think of something passed on here. The ancient instinct of the birds, called back year after to year, to nest and regenerate. The neighborhood too stirring and coming together. And the live oaks, every year their fur a little shaggier, their branches a little more sheltering, their roots a little deeper.

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