The other day I walked around the pond, which is now iced over except for a small stretch of open water. The gray ice is full of shatter lines and looks like an enormous puzzle. The seagulls soar over it and sometimes they roost a bit on the ice.
As I walked around, the ice grumbled and groaned and creaked and made loud cracking noises. I could hear the water beneath the ice uttering bloops and blurps of “pond speak.” The larger sheets of ice made lots of snaps and bangs and ominous growls as water shifted beneath the ice.
Quite frankly, the pond sounded cranky that day, and wasn’t at all ashamed of letting everyone know about it. I imagine that it probably prefers the warmer weather when the water is soft and slaps lazily against the banks. During the warm months, the turtles and frogs are about, sunning themselves wherever they can find space.
Great blue herons stand at attention in the shallows, watching for unsuspecting fish to glide within striking distance. Ducks and swans paddle in pairs, muttering to themselves, and once in a while the pond’s mascot, Muskratty von Muskrat, shows up.
But these are cold days and the pond is making its displeasure known. As I walked around it, listening to its complaints, I whispered to it: “I know, buddy; I know. I don’t like the cold, either. But before you know it, all that ice will melt. All the frogs and turtles will wake up and swim up to bask on the logs in the sun. The redwing black birds will start scoping out the best nesting areas, and the little gold finches will come back to roost in the jewel weed.”
The pond grumbled its way through the ice, and the movement of ice sounded like a sigh. The pond really does speak, and when it does, I listen. It and I are old friends now. I have walked around it for nearly twelve years. We understand each other, we commiserate in the cold, and rejoice in the return of warm weather.
Grumble and creak away, old friend; I hear you.