When I took this shot, I was just looking to get a pretty shot of a pretty bird in a pretty place. But then it inspired a bit of fiction, which you can read below.

Seattle, WA, 2020

“I made all this, you know.”

“All what?”

“All everything. Right out of this water right here. It’s called Nun.”

“None?”

“Nun. A funny little pun, don’t you think? All from Nun?”

“I get it. It’s cute.”

“I thought so, too.”

Sitting on the moss-covered boulder in the middle of the water talking casually with a large bird wasn’t exactly how I thought things would end, I confess. But things were ending, and here I was, doing just that.

“Do you have a name, or do I just call you ‘God’?”

“That’s not a name, that’s a job description. Call me Ben.”

“Nice to meet you, Ben.”

“Thanks. How’d you get here?”

“I drove. That’s my car in the lot by the beach.”

“Where from?”

“The other shore.”

“That’s a long drive. I flew over there a few years back. It was strange to watch the sun come up over the water.”

“It’s strange to watch it go down on the water.”

“That’s fair. How did you find me?”

“Well, I wasn’t really looking for you. I was just trying to escape the fires,”

“Fire. It’s all one now.”

“Oh. Fire. I was trying to escape the fire and kept going until I couldn’t go anymore, and here you were on this rock. I can’t really swim very well, so I just waded out to the farthest rock I could. I expected you to fly away.”

“Really? I didn’t see that coming. I expected you to come looking for me.”

“You’re surprised? Don’t you know everything?”

“Omniscient? Me? Hardly. You people have very strange ideas about me.”

“I’d agree with that, on the whole. I should tell you I don’t believe in gods.”

“But you’re talking to one right now.”

“So you say. Why should I believe you?”

“Well, I’m telling you. And gods never lie. Neither do herons.”

“Is that so?”

“Of course it is. Well, the second part is. The first part isn’t. Have you ever been lied to by a heron?”

“I’ve never been spoken to by a heron. Why were you waiting for me? How did you know I was coming, if you’re not omniscient?”

“Where else could you go?”

“That’s fair.”

The heron, Ben I suppose, and I sat quietly on the rock for a long time, watching the smoke rise up from the tree line on shore as the fire encroached.

“I’m going to miss my car. I really liked that car.”

“I could spare it, if you’d like.”

“Oh, yes, please.”

“Alright then.”

“Thank you.”

There was another very long silence, heavy and contemplative. Ben spoke first.

“I think it’s time for me to go now.”

“Where will you go, Ben?”

“I have a lot of work to do. I’ll have to get started soon.”

“Before you go, may I ask a question?”

“I think you just did.”

“If you made everything, what made you decide to destroy it?”

“Oh, I didn’t. You all did that all on your own.”

“Ah. That makes more sense. So what happens now?”

“Start over, I suppose. Maybe this time your descendants will get it right.”

“My descendants? I’m afraid you’ll have to find me a partner for that. I’m not pregnant.”

“Are you sure?”

“Pretty sure. I’m male.”

“Oh, are you now?”

Ben smiled and flew away.