There’s something so very relaxing about spending a warm, sunny morning at the pond. It’s a whole different world down there by the water’s edge, far away from the noise of traffic, the aggravation of crashing computers and the countless demands of a busy life.
I settle down beside a clump of rushes to watch and wait and, as I gaze out across the water, a hundred pairs of eyeballs seem to peer curiously back at me from the surface. It was one of the great mysteries of life to me, as a child, how a blob with a tail could transform itself quite miraculously into the distinctive figure of a frog, and in order to study this phenomenon more closely, it was not unusual in our house to come across glass jars containing quivering masses of embryonic tadpoles. I’ve spent many happy hours with frogs. I’ve also spent many a happy hour at ‘The Frog & Trumpet’ but that’s a different story!
A pair of mallard ducks paddle by, quacking, or are they laughing? They could be. “Look at that fool over there with the camera! What does she think she’s going to see? The Loch Ness Monster? There’s nothing here worth taking a picture of, unless we…..” Here they perform a little synchronized up-ending and satisfied that they’ve done their job, they paddle away.
A muskrat is the next thing to come into view. Slipping silently through the water it sets a course for the opposite bank and I’m just about to get a shot when it disappears below the surface. I make a guess at where it will pop up next but I’m wrong. It’s as though he’s playing a game with me; Where’s-the-Muskrat. We go on like this for several minutes until I finally get it right and he moves on.
A butterfly, already beginning to look a little ragged, stops on it’s erratic course to take a few moments rest but he’s off again when a heron glides in, landing a few feet from the bank. It proceeds to look for a tasty snack. It’s not fussy. A fish or frog will do. Finding a good spot it stands motionless for what seems like an eternity, when suddenly the long neck shoots out, a rapier-like beak dips into the water and the heron holds its glittering prize aloft. The fish quickly disappears down the bird’s outstretched gullet and life on the pond goes on.
I wonder what all these creatures would make of our world if given the opportunity to watch us at work and play. On the whole I think they’re far better off where they are. You don’t see a dragonfly suffering from stress disorders or a frog agonizing over its tax returns. The heron doesn’t lose any sleep wondering if it remembered to pay the car insurance or the muskrat have a nervous breakdown over what the kids are doing on ‘facebook.’ Ah yes! Give me life on the pond every time!