It was a flawless November day. Flawless and shocking, this Friday after Thanksgiving. The sun was bright, the temperature an unseasonable almost-sixty degrees. The sky? A pale blue, a few wispy clouds here and there, high and unthreatening.
Several days later we'd be warned that two-to-four inches of snow was expected over the next couple of days. But on this day, this uncharacteristic day, snow seemed an impossibility.
The walk to the ditch was particularly pleasant. The neighbors were out in force -- walking dogs, raking leaves or -- like my neighbor Frank -- putting out Christmas lights.
Everyone wanted to stop for a chat -- it mattered not that we were strangers. On this day, we were all friends.
The ditch was awash in quiet colors on the shore, water reflecting the flawless blue sky. There were reeds the color of wheat, berries deep red. A lone nest, visible through bare branches.
A few stray leaves remained, orange and bright.
A few dried leaves remained on the barren branches, but for once, one could see more than one pond at a time. It was stark, yet surprisingly lovely.
At the ditch, the ducks were in full force, gathered in the center pond.
A family came along, carrying a bag of bread. They were extremely popular, attracting ducks of every size and color.
Even a little one was getting her first lessons in duck feeding, to her joy and amazement.
To our amazement, a muskrat appeared on the scene. Apparently the ducks were too close to the nest, for he (or she) began chasing them, swimming after one, then another.
You can see the muskrat in the photo below -- right in the middle, looking a bit like a floating board.
He darted through the water so quickly it was difficult to get a clear photo!
I wanted to stay forever.
Soon trees looking like this one will pop up in homes all over the country. But I'm not so sure that any one of them could be so captivating as this burst of green in an otherwise muted palette. Brighter, perhaps. More elaborately decorated. But beautiful? I'm not so sure.
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