Wednesday, March 17
The Duck and I
I sit on the east bank of the pond, the soft ground is spongy beneath me, still damp from recently melted snow. The sun shines. A gentle breeze blows. The air is balmy, carrying the scent of new grass. I am now surrounded by green! Green for the Irish and green for new life and growth. A young, dark skinned dark haired girl carrying a baby and looking after two small boys strolls by on the other side. The pond is re-born. Free, flowing, liquified - reflecting the green from its grassy banks, reflecting patches of pastel blue from the sky, reflecting the trunk of the long, slender pine directly opposite me.
The orange fish are gathered at the north end, their heads pointed toward each other. Now gentle ripples flow from one end to the other from the pump. Water is alive. Fluid. Reflecting. Rippling. One fish just surfaced. Then another, emitting a concentrated concentric circles that lasts only seconds.
The pond's shape has expanded and changed again. No longer a lollipop, it is now oval at the north end, uneven on the west end. It's difficult to compare it to another shape because it doesn't look like anything else, except perhaps a very skinny, compressed state of Wisconsin.
Buds are just beginning to form on the small shrubs next to me. They are beautiful tiny cones of green half in, half out of the brown shell. They look within mere hours of bursting forth as tiny leaves.
A duck (Mallard?) appears from nowhere just to my right. It has just plopped into the water from one of the small stone outcroppings. Its head is emerald green, its feet orange and feathers white and brown. (I hope I don't scare it away.) It paddles around the pond, sporadically plunging its head into the water near the eastern shore - about three yards away from me, as if doing the butterfly stroke. Is it eating or bathing? Its downy white bottom wiggles. Its bill is yellow.
I look up from my page and duck has emerged from the water, waddled up the bank, fully bathed, its feathers gleaming in the sun, and proceeds to groom. A mourning dove coohs. A robin descends from the tree behind me and gives me a glance. It hops to the very edge of the pond and washes its gray feathers. I am now suddenly aware of several other chirping birds.
The fish are now in a tighter cluster crammed against the north edge. Duck continues to stand, drying off, gives me a curt nod, then monitors walkers on the pathway behind me. It is motionless. It doesn't seem bothered at all by the commotion on the patio of Lindsay Hall. Duck returns its gaze to me and we commune as I sit on my own haunches. Perhaps the ducks are used to people. Perhaps waiting for me to toss a few bread crumbs its way.
Sadly, I had to adjourn the meeting before Duck did. The sun just dipped behind a row of buildings, casting a shadow across the water, erasing all reflections. It is five minutes past six and other duties call.