Herons and Egrets stalked through the shallow water, necks held as springs and eyes focussed on the flashes and movement of the water. If I came too close they eyed me with obvious wintry discontent, head held high, neck straightened. One step more from me and they took flight with two or three lazy flaps and glided to another part of the reef. The egrets took flight quicker, but landed sooner. Easier to spook, quicker to recover. I watched them catch tiny sparklings of fish which were swallowed, flip flap, with barely a pause. The slightly larger ones were first turned around head first to better slide down the curved, slender neck, then swallowed in a fluid gulp. As I would come to learn they were far better at fishing than I was. The more I looked the more I saw. The colours were not great, but the place was. Bursting.
I notice a circle, a hole in the ground, with coral scraps built up around it. A fish? A crab? Who knows, but it was not there by chance and it was not designed either. Complexity and order without design. Purpose, yes. But how that purpose is defined depends on what you select, on what you see being passed on. Small movements in the watery hole made me stop and wait. And wait. And whatever it was, waited as well, and outlasted me. I don’t suppose you live long if you are small, probably tasty and imprudent with your appearances. I moved on and left the hole and its dweller to its own devices. The exposed coral sand and mud hissed and pooped with the busy sounds of life. From hidden places the rocks themselves seem to spit in disgust at my human intrusion. But it’s just the sea-squirts those ancient, stiffened ancestors, squeezing short spurts of water into the air. I feel that it’s no way to great family, no matter how distant.