The Great White Egret by Wendy Killoran — TRAK Guest Post

September 30, 2021

The Great White Egret by Wendy Killoran — TRAK Guest Post

 

TRAK Kayaks  /  6 Min Read  /  by Wendy Killoran

 

 

Wendy who is an adventurer, photographer, writer and inspirational speaker has paddled around Haida Gwaii, the Bahamas, Vancouver Island and the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. In 2006, she became the first woman to solo circumnavigate Newfoundland and has paddled around all 5 Great Lakes. She lived a conventional life before following her dreams of being a photographer and adventurer and leaving behind her career in teaching and her marriage.

 

It was a random thought that caught me by surprise. “Never in my life have I seen a great white egret in the Canadian wilderness.” I questioned how such a thought had even entered my mind.

 

by Wendy Killoran

I was circumnavigating Manitoulin Island by kayak, the world’s largest freshwater island situated in northern Lake Huron in the province of Ontario. To circumnavigate it meant paddling about 350 km. I was paddling into Burnt Island Harbour along the south shore of this limestone island where alvars, which are flat limestone pavements, dominate the south shore, unlike the steep Niagara Escarpment which dominates the north shore.

No sooner had I had this “random” thought, when within a minute, a white egret flew into the misty harbour as I was approaching the flat limestone shore. My body was covered in tingling prickles and I immediately recognized that this was a pivotal moment in my life. The egret landed about 100 metres distant and stayed near water’s edge, fishing, for a few hours, while I established camp. I recognized in this experience that it was a divine moment, that there is more to life than meets the eye. I had only ever seen great white egrets in tropical and sub-tropical locations such as Florida and the Caribbean Islands. This “coincidence” was too coincidental!

 



I was not raised to be religious nor was I taught anything about spirituality. I was a blank canvas when it came to creating my beliefs about God, Source Energy. “Was God real?”, I had often wondered.

I had come here to Manitoulin Island about 25 years after I’d seen it initially in the early 1980’s as I flew above the island as a university student enroute to a geological summer job in northern Ontario. The white shore and azure water was beguiling. I promised myself that I would return someday to visit and explore, not knowing that I would come back by kayak in the early 2000’s.

 



Manitoulin Island is reputed to be home of the Great Manitou, the Gitche Manitou. Manitou according to the Iroquois orenda, is a supernatural force that pervades the natural world, a great spirit. “Manitou” is an Algonquin word for spirit, mystery, or deity. It is said that the Manitou could take the form of many different animals, including that of a bird. I felt the sacredness with the arrival of the great white egret and its presence for hours. I recognized that I’d experienced an epiphany where I felt the true dawning of my spiritual awakening.

Eventually, when I looked over, the white bird resembling a great blue heron, had disappeared. It was the first true time in my life where I was consciously aware of the deep mystery I had experienced and the sacredness of this blessing. I let it infuse me and I was open to receiving this gift, not quite sure what to make of it all. I knew that it was special and that it was definitely meant to happen.

 



Then years later, in 2014, I had another mysterious and magical encounter. I had experienced some unforeseen life challenges and I felt the need to attend a healing retreat on Gabriola Island, in British Columbia, attending a program entitled “Come Alive”. I worked on the power of deep breathing and creative visualization. On the last day of the retreat, during a creative visualization, I was visualizing flying up into the sky, spiraling upwards towards white light. I was a bird and I could choose whichever bird I desired to be. I instantly chose to be a white egret. I breathed deeply and visualized myself, feeling so empowered that I felt I was in the presence of God. I felt overwhelmed in this light, love, power, and unfamiliar feeling. I sobbed as I felt this glory. There were no words for me to describe this moment.

Driving home, I needed to be quiet and try to understand what I’d experienced, but, my twin sister called me on my cell phone and excitedly stated, “Wendy, Wendy, Wendy, you won’t believe what I saw today on my walk?”

I paused and stated, “A white egret?”

There was stunned silence. “How did you know?” she eventually asked still in disbelief.

“I think I sent it to you”, I declared.
When she pointed to the white egret in the river to other passersby, they looked and kept walking as though there was nothing special to see. I again stated something quite amazing, “It was sent to you for your eyes only.” We were stunned. This miracle was for us and us alone.

 



In 2018, when I was on my five months long kayak exploration of the Great Lakes where I paddled around Lake Superior solo and about half way around Lake Huron, I met near Saginaw Bay in the state of Michigan, numerous white egrets, and when I mentioned this to locals, nobody had ever seen a white egret in the area. Had the repeated sightings diminished the significance of the specialness? Were they for my eyes only? My heart swelled with gratitude that yet again, I encountered these beautiful mysterious birds on my kayak journey.

 



I have now had several mystical experiences with white egrets. These experiences occurred most of the time while I was in a state of openness, peace, bliss, in my kayak, deeply present. To live a life unleashed, I’d found the courage to venture into the mysterious unknown, and to open my heart to All that is, and there, my inner spiritual journey began. I have reclaimed my life through being a fearless Goddess of life by going on lengthy solo kayak journeys. My outer kayak journeys brought me to my inner spiritual journey thanks to the beauty and mystery of the great white egret. There is magic for those who believe in magic!

 

 

About the Author: Wendy Killoran

 

 

Wendy who is an adventurer, photographer, writer and inspirational speaker has paddled around Haida Gwaii, the Bahamas, Vancouver Island and the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. In 2006, she became the first woman to solo circumnavigate Newfoundland and has paddled around all 5 Great Lakes. She lived a conventional life before following her dreams of being a photographer and adventurer and leaving behind her career in teaching and her marriage.

In our talk Wendy shares what his definition of living a life unleashed and her journey from an unfilled life as a married school teacher to a life she is passionate about as a full time adventure kayaker. She unpacks some of her most recent adventure- There and Back She also shares big life lessons that she has learned in life and lives by today.

Wendy lives by the motto "Love the life you live and live the life you love" Don’t die with regrets. Listen to your calling and make it happen.” — Wendy Killoran

 

Connect with Wendy on Instagram: @kayakwendy

 

 The Expedition There and Back:

 

 

 

 

 



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