My favorite walk around the pond is about 3,000 steps away from our house (yep, I counted every step; without a fitbit!). I’ve walked it in every season, and each time it surprises me with blue herons, ducks, cormorants, swans, a huge turtle, a muskrat (Muskratty Von Muskrat) and his lady friend, and once or twice, a few breath-taking bald eagles drifting lazily overhead.
Due to some medical issues, I hadn’t walked the pond in quite a while. So I went to visit it yesterday, and it was as lovely as always. The sun was bright, there were some fluffy clouds here and there in the beautiful blue sky, and there was a nice cool breeze blowing. As I got to the pond, a blue heron came soaring across the pond and, with a loud grawwwwk! it landed in the bullrushes just a few feet away from me. What a gift!
The jewel weed flowers were out in all their orange-y beauty. Before the flowers emerge, they have a one inch bud; if you gently squeeze the bud, the seed will pop out like a jack-in-the-box. Also, all the silvery milkweed floss was out in the wind; each little “flyer” carries a tiny brown seed. Wherever the seed lands, it will eventually become a full-grown milkweed stalk.
The reeds are slowly changing their green color to a silvery green, and there are still some pink rambler roses to be found along the path. Black-eyed Susans dot the path, and there are lovely purple lupins and bright yellow Indian paintbrushes everywhere. I looked for the little turtles who, during the warm weather, like to bask in the sunshine near the reeds; but they were not to be found.
The same with the frogs. It maybe that they and the turtles have already tucked themselves down deep in the muddy bottom of the pond where they will sleep until Spring awakens them.
Always when I walk around the pond, I feel my grandmother (whom we all called “Ba”) near me. It was she who taught me all about the shy creatures that peopled the meadow behind her house, and all about the birds she loved so well. She told me how to care for the birds in winter; that’s when they need all the fat and protein they can get. She would have my grandfather cut up a few small logs; he would carve out scoops in the wood so that my grandmother could fill them up with peanut butter and seeds. She also made suet balls and hung them in the tree branches. And each winter, the birds fed well from my grandmother’s hand and heart.
As I walked along the pond, it was as though she was with me, reminding me to watch for the birds, the hawks, the blue herons, the geese, the ducks and the bald eagles. The pond is a gift and a blessing; anything that bothered me before setting foot on the path just melted away. Walks like this is Nature’s way of telling us to slow down, to appreciate, to enjoy and to be part of the miracle. And boy—there are lots of miracles to see!