Egrets in Our Midst, a photography exhibition by Gerry Traucht, captures the striking personalities of egrets as they make their homes within Berkeley and the cities along the San Francisco East Bay shoreline.
What is remarkable is that the egrets are within the city, performing ceremonies, rituals and mating in an urban setting. They fish, colonize and convene in breathtaking gatherings, while focusing on the lagoon and revealing our parks as masterpieces to nurture and protect.
The egrets activate water and air, stirring organisms and molecules until energy is everywhere. As the lagoon begins to recover from a fuel spill, the egrets up the energy and switch the mood from struggle to apparent ecstasy. Their surprise arrival and gathering to establish a communal roost site in an inner city park is humbling.
A gorgeous egret spreads her wings. A male doubles her wingspan. Sexual energy burns like a laser. The female sublimely directs it over the tidal lake. As their wings gather the air, something in the atmosphere changes. The dead air breathes. Wing Trancers are tribal dancers and teachers of shamans. -from The Secret Lives of Egrets
THE ROYAL HEART
The egret has the body of a performer. Its reflection is a partner in language and art. On a perfect day, on a healthy lake, the egret overflows with symbols, offering the great royal heart, infinity, peace, the acrobat, the spaceship and windows.
Accidental language and art repeat often with playfulness and depth. Multiple coincidences suggest nature is communicating in a language worthy of a planet. -from The Secret Lives of Egrets
CIRCLE IN THE MIST
Under the umbrella of its own beauty the white egret adjusts its feathers. Its reflection reveals the arc of its spirit.
In the green world, in the lifting mist, the egret is still far away. Without explanation, suddenly there is clarity.
A great egret studies the water, earth and air. They become a painting. He merges into it to feel it. In the water's illness he finds beauty. Through the beauty he finds the path.
Myths come alive. Archetypes appear.
From elegant egret the white spirit switches to crone. With the crone comes the great silent soul-shaking laugh of the hag, Life is short.
Respect the earth, water and air, and live long.
In the lagoon the fisher egret stalks an entity destined for removal.
On top of the world, the guardian of the watery planet does the same.
EGRET OVER THE LAGOON
The lagoon sometimes resembles a breathing painting on a perfect day or, sometimes, an exquisite print, two-dimensional and satisfying. Flying out of it, into the third-dimension, is the egret.
Here is the attire of a young envoy, alive, charged, and happening, part punk, part guide, part entity with which to reckon.
Devastatingly handsome with attitude, it's a good look, worthy of tribal prince or nature's environmental warrior.
In thundering color and silence, the matriarch speaks in unison with the lagoon.
Bird, sojourning shaman, or shinto priest, the egret is in rarefied territory. Mating plumage switches to high art. The egret offers a visual rhythm tuned to an otherworldly frequency.
A royal court of snowy egrets gathers solemnly in the shadows in a formal scene charged with sexual energy and a mysterious waiting, as if for the impending event.
Flying the border between winter and spring, a great egret arrives at the end of December, as if bringing a cloak of colors for the new year.
INTO THE LIGHT
The snowy egret, having circled the ceremonial area of the lagoon, seems to consecrate the water. As the sun fades, the egret leaps into the last sunbeam. Soon, as if entering a trance state, it will merge into a phenomenal mirage of breathtaking complexity.
THE YELLOW SLIPPER
The water forms a vertical curtain in earth tones and rippled chevon patterns before curving, flowing forward into the world with inviting blues. In the center of the water's pattern display is the snowy egret, visually "dancing" with the world that surrounds it and revealing the hypnotic yellow foot.
HARMONY OF FRIENDS
A brown pelican and a great egret are in each other's company for a long while. The tolerance or benefit of such association suggests camaraderie and respect exist between the two great birds. They are even social, as they survey Berkeley's inner city tidal lake on a nearly perfect day.
Nearly every morning the same two egrets appear to monitor the north end of the lagoon as they observe, fish and interact. Moments earlier, they stood facing each other, as if exchanging information. The snowy egret is by far the smaller, feisty when it chooses and more often witnessed in events that seem to challenge reality. The snowy has a black bill and amazing yellow feet. The much larger great egret has the yellow bill and black feet. It is stately, elegant, iconic and the symbol of the National Audubon Society.
LAGOON MAIN EGRET GREETING THE VISITING WHITE PELICANS 2014
The great egret brings the gift of a branch to woo a mate and build their nest. Or is it possible, to also woo us who look to the sky and see a great egret, performing a dance with a sculptural branch: woo, dance, fly, build, celebrate: 2017-2018.