I've walked this path before, and you've walked with me.
We've seen herons and ducks from spring to fall, pines and astors. So much more.
This Saturday finds the weather is surprisingly warm for Michigan January day. The sun is bright this morning and yes, a coat is needed and the cheeks feel the sting of the winter air. Yet it is well above the freezing mark as I enter the paths of the ditch.
There are surprising patches of green -- moss, mostly -- but it is bright. One of my favorite colors stares back at me as I look about in amazement.
Rounding the corner, I see my old friends, the ducks, in -- or rather on -- their pond.
They're at rest on the ice, which is beginning to melt around them.
They seem eager to see me. Perhaps they think my pockets are stuffed with bread. They aren't. I wish they were.
Nonetheless, they rush over, walking on frozen water.
Some tumble into the pond, as the thin ice breaks beneath their bodies. One pound? Two? It's clear the days have been warm.
Their energy charms me and their persistent quacking makes me smile.
In their reflections I see the magic of winter -- the shiny glare of the sun reflecting on the melting pond. I am entranced.
Soon enough I feel the chill in my fingers and shove my hands deeper into my pockets, wishing I'd worn a hat.
My feet begin to move now, quickly. Time to warm up. I make my way around the pond, stopping now and then to capture something that intrigues me. Red berries. Dried reeds growing from the water like cornstalks.
I end my walk where I began, looking at reflections of the tall birdhouse that stands in the largest pond.
It's January. The water will freeze again. But it won't be all that long before the ice goes out for good, Harry returns and the ducks will be greeted nightly by families who come bearing bags of bread and chips.
And I smile. Again.
NOTE: A delayed reminder that at Chopsticks and String, I've posted about some of my favorite books of 2011. If you're a reader, check it out and let me know what you think!
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