I always feel that I am immitating Garrison Keilor (who created the “Lake Woebegon” stories) when I write about my pond walk. And why not; the pond and its surrounds are filled with plenty of interresting “folks:” ducks, swans, turtles (including one king-size whopper, whom I call the King of the Turtles), a pair of muskrats, blue herons, cormorants, seagulls, and sometimes if I am very lucky; a bald eagle.
Needless to say, it’s a chilly walk around the pond these days; it’s a definitely a day for a hat and mittens, along with a warm coat and a scarf. The pond is frozen over, and all the frogs and turtles have hunkered down deep into the mud to sleep until Spring wakes them. As I walk around the pond, the other side, where there is still open water; is deep blue-green and looks freezing cold.
The reeds that surround the pond are dry now and chatter in the wind, and all the pink rambler roses, goldenrod, purple asters and milkweed are gone; only hardened stems remain. All the red-wing black birds who guarded their nests so fiercely in the spring have moved on; their babies are grown and are on their own. However, the seagulls still wheel over the pond, calling hoarsely to each other.
It was my grandmother who taught me about the forest creatures and the birds. In the meadow behind my grandparents’ house, there were rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, birds, and once a bobcat. I still remember the blood-curdling scream it made, warning all creatures that it was around and to beware.
So on my pond walks I keep my eyes and ears open to creatures who might be in the vicinity. I always feel my grandmother’s presence when I walk around the pond; she was my mentor on all things of nature. It is because of her that each winter, the Crankee Yankee and I keep the bird feeder full of seeds. We also put out suet packs for them (you can find them in stores such as Odd Lots: they come in handy plastic pans you can put out on the ground or on a shelf on a bird feeder). During the winter, the birds need the fat and protein to keep them warm.
On my way home, I sent a message to my grandmother, thanking her for her wisdom, knowledge and love. Where she is now, her eye too is on the sparrow, and I know she is watching over me.