Casmerodius Convocation
            - Our Egret Gathering

















    Beginning early in the summer of 1994, a stately white egret with a long neck and legs often came at morning low tide to feed in the Bay. His tall beautiful body moved little in the hours before humans came to glide across the water in sail boats or walk waist deep near the shore to catch crabs. A solitary figure, he was quiet. When he did walk through the water it was with graceful slow strides.





    Egrets had been to Keyport before, but not with the regularity of the summer of 1994. In the early summer, horse shoe crabs visit our shore. In September, we sometimes have monarch butterflies or dragonflies as visitors. Late fall brings flocks of ducks, sometimes numbering thousands of members, to rest on their flight from here to there. Once, when a float was left in the water over the winter, a sea lion slept upon it at the only break in an ice choked bay. Humans and other animals have long shared the waters and shores of Keyport Harbor. But, the summer of 1994 was special.





    In July and August, the solitary egret was sometimes joined by one or two other companions each of these smaller and conspicuously aware that a proper distance must be maintained when the beach was shared. Unbelievably, as the summer days shortened, the number of simultaneously gathering regal white birds increased. It was such a privilege to be near them. They stood silently in the water, each a distance apart from the next. They arrived before the sun was up and stood silently as it rose in the sky.





    In September, on the Sunday nearest the equinox, the day when summer turns to fall, a great, great gathering occurred. The movie, "City of Angels," has such a gathering. The angels gather on the ocean shore for a daily very spiritual event. The egret gathering was more moving, more spiritual. They came. Their number filled the shore from the west along all of the shore of Cliffwood Beach. The gathering continued from the park at the boat ramp further to the east to the Yacht Club dock. Beyond to the east, I could not see. Before sunrise the multitude gathered along the shore, each member greeting the day in personal solitude.





    I do not know what happened later that September. My mornings grew more hectic and day break came later. But, I recall so well that special September morning and this year hoped when the solitary egret of a June morning was joined in July by two others that again the group would gather for another great September sunrise convocation.









© 9/16/99, 10/11/2010, A. Azzolino