The childhood “staring game” that I knew, was always a fun little struggle that usually ended in laughter. A frightening incident showed me that this is not ALWAYS the case. [That’s foreshadowing at it premium best, okay?] I had about 20 minutes to kill one day, so I was walking with my camera when I came upon this pair of herons. At first I assumed they were a mated pair, gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes, but I quickly recognized the seriousness of the “staring contest” being fought at the water’s edge. The lines on their faces and the tears seeping along the bottom eye lids told me they had been at it for a while. Judging by the fact that the grass looked like it hadn’t been cut for several days, I knew this battle could be no older than that. What’s REALLY amazing is that they were playing a “mirror” game at the same time, going through silly gestures like in the photo… the “I can lift my leg like a doggy” pose. I noticed that they had accumulated an audience of fans, so there was almost certainly some illegal betting going on. I didn’t want to be implicated in THAT kind of stuff, so I just snapped the shot and left. I happened to be back there a week or so later, and was relieved to see that they were gone… they might be risking serious eye damage by that time. An elderly man on a park bench nearby waved me over. “A cop came, charged ‘em both with causing a scene, an said they’d be jailbirds overnight.” I think he was trying to trick me… I’ve never seen a cop in that area.