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Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 82 It is not only the loss from the physical and emotional dependency on a mate or the investment and sacrifices made in order to procreate that are mourned, it is also the loss of tenderness experienced in a harsh, demanding and unforgiving world. Outside of its mate, trust and joyful intimacy do not exist in an adult Egret's life. their hamburgers and chips. They are thrilled to have her come so close to their table and delight in taking photos of their children standing near her. I spotted her several times at Turtle Beach Park. She is still immaculately groomed and lovely, but so pitifully thin. It is then I recall A Streetcar Named Desire. Ardea, like Blanche, is relying more on the kindness of strangers. And people are ever so kind to her — fish scraps, sometimes even a whole pinfish from the fishermen; and picnickers toss her bits of mangroves, the very same oak from which I first saw Ardea feistily pecking her way out of that turquoise-blue egg. She was deep inside the mangroves, grooming her glowing white feathers, one by one. I quickly flew away as that beak of hers was still a formidable weapon. That may have been the last time I ever saw her. There is a very special time of evening, and it does not happen every evening, when the color of the sky exactly matches the color of the water and they blend to a dusky gloom where No one will mourn the loss of Ardea. She is white objects suddenly appear opalescent and old, barren and alone. Her children, even if whiter than white. Mediterranean fishermen not busy with their children and mates, would refer to this dusk as "the hour of the pearl." not even know her. One such dusk, I flew back to my oak by the Ardea has had a full life since she hatched from one of those turquoise-blue eggs. Photo courtesy Rick Greenspun

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