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A couple years ago, I ran into a terrible time in my life. I had been out of work for a while. My entire savings had run out. I had recently sold what little I had left of value at the pawn shop to buy food. My girlfriend had just broken up with me a few days before. And I had no idea where I was going to get my next rent payment. On the news I had seen that a hurricane had struck the Southeast, and was coming up the coast and was about to hit my part of the world. Well it turns out that by the time it reached me, in Philly, it was no longer a hurricane, but it still packed a pretty good punch. I should know. I stood on the edge of the Delaware River and watched it role in, and stayed out in the middle of it untill it was gone. Durring the worst part of the storm, I leaned into the wind and rain, and yelled at God, the universe, the sky, the rain, the wind, the clouds,the lightning, the thunder, but mostly I yelled at my life for falling apart on me. After I got all my yelling out of the way, I began to walk across Philly, well I more or less stomped across the city, mumbling in frustration. By the time I got to West Philly, the storm moved on out, to mess with New Jersey I guess. I looked around at all the flooding, blown down trees and ripped up stuff scattered all over the streets. Then I took my dripping wet self over to a small pond on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania and sat down. In the pond were some turtles, unconcerned by the weather. They, being turtles, were in no hurry for anything. And they're used to being wet. I wondered if they even noticed the storm. As I sat there watching those turtles something huge came down out of the sky. It was a great blue heron. And it landed not more than ten feet away from me. It walked right up to me. Maybe four or five feet from me. I would say he stood about four feet tall, and since I was sitting on the ground, he had to stoop down a little to my level. He looked right into my eyes. For a few minutes we just stared at eachother. Now I don't really know what that bird was thinking that day, but to me at that moment, it felt like he was saying, "Don't worry buddy, whatever is going on in your life... it's only a storm. It may rip things apart. It may even uproot you like a tree. But it's just a storm. This storm will pass." Well that's what I imagined him saying anyway. Really he just stood there and stared at me. Then he turned around, walked calmly over to the water's edge, and in the flash of an eye he plunged his head into the water and stood up proud with a catfish in his beak. Then flew away. The other day, I was feeling very overwhelmed by some things. I was walking through West Philly, and as I passed over a small bridge that crosses over a creak, something told me to go look over the edge of the bridge. Wouldn't you know, when I looked over, I saw a great blue heron trying to catch fish in the creak below. Then I realized...it's just a storm.

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