This Way to the Egrets

Egrets are everywhere.

We think of them as tropical birds, wading in the Everglades or Okefenokee Swamp; in fact, I once painted an egret as part of the "local fauna" on a house number tile bound for Florida to replace one broken by Hurricane Wilma. Egrets aren't limited to the south, however.

Nearly hunted to extinction to plume ladies' hats, egrets live anyplace with water to wade in and small fish to spear. They thrive on bluegills in the northern Mississippi backwaters where I lived in La Crosse, and do just as well on chub and minnows in wetlands here in Oregon.

But we still think of them as rare and exotic, which is why I paint them on pasta bowls and vases, and why P. T. Barnum famously snookered so many people with his "This way to the Egress" sign.

Egress = Way out.