The Pond in Winter and Other Wonders

Yesterday we had a mild and sunny day, with the temps in the low 40s. It was the perfect day to walk around the pond I often write about. It was warm enough to turn the path to mud, and there was that soft crackling sound of ice melting and bumping up against each other.

Where the pond had more running water, the ice had broken itself into squarish pieces. It looked like a mosaic, with dark water in the spaces. You could almost imagine skipping from one block to the other to get to the other side of the pond.

It was the kind of day where you could easily believe that spring is just around the corner. Birds were singing, and seagulls soared overhead, squawking their displeasure at not being able to rest on the water, and the sky was a light china blue.

Each time I walk around the pond, I think of my grandmother. She was the one who introduced me to nature; she would point out the different birds and their habits, tell me which flowers to look for in the early spring, where the frogs went in the winter time, and so on.

It’s almost as if she is walking along with me, nudging me to look, really look at the miracles all around me. She knew the habits of the squirrels, the birds, the shy rabbit who lived in the meadow, the flowers, trees, frogs and bugs. Everything I know about nature comes from her.

Because of her, I know that the frogs and turtles dig themselves deep into the soft mud at the bottom of the pond to sleep through the winter. I know that the red-winged blackbirds get pretty fractious in the spring when they are guarding their nests. I know that the great blue herons will stand in the shallow water like statues until they strike swiftly at their prey. I know not to go near poison ivy from her admonished verse: “leaves of three, let it be.”

I’m grateful for the lessons I learned from my grandmother. Each time I walk the path around the pond, I know she is urging me to pay attention to even the smallest wonder.

 

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