R.S. Williams

All I want is to get the words right.

Georgia 109 Spur

Sunday, summer. Hot. Humid.
Nearly a hundred at a quarter til noon.
How the world stays plump and green in this steam, I do not know.

In the opposite lane, warming itself: a box turtle. No—a pinecone.
In my lane, warming itself: a shredded fan belt. No—a king snake.
Wheels dodge, spin past.
Neither moves.

By the old Whatley place, two does materialize. From the furry green ditch, their eyes ask permission. I slow. They traverse the double yellow line, as always graceful yet unsure, as always one at a time.

A squirrel, bushy tail an eternal question mark, never asks permission. Zig-zag-zig-zigzig-zag-ZIG! across pavement and almost-not-safely into tall grass.

In the hollow by the Primitive Baptist cemetery, a great blue heron glides across the tops of the pines. Wide blue-gray wings, yellow legs, crooked flight-neck: hello, hello, goodbye.

All an omen, all a blessing—all a signal of hope.

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Note: This encore post first appeared on 22 June 2014.



  1. A nice read for a late Thursday!

  2. I always adore your writing and this resonates with a former Southerner who lives in the wild now. But I will also tell you flat out that I have wanted to see a blue heron my entire damn life! Big, big envy!!

    Thank you as always for sharing your art with us. I will never not be a fan.

  3. R. S. Williams

    November 11, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    Thanks, Stewart. After I re-posted this, I thought about the last time I saw a great blue heron. I think I saw one standing in a swamp back in the spring. One of my friends posted a photo on Facebook just last week of a great blue heron sitting on her boat dock. What a treat!

    • My grandmother would have been an ornithologist if could have. When I’d visit she would take me out into the marshlands, book and binoculars in hand, or to some friend’s to listen to the birds calling after the sun went down. The first time I saw a turkey vulture was with her. But never a big blue. Someday…

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