Monday, January 9, 2012

I've Walked This Path Before

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!


Roses, Lace and Brocante said...

What a gorgeous walk Jeanie - and I love the friends you met up with along the way!

Joanne Huffman said...

These are great photos. I love seeing the reflections, especially the ones that go from ice to water.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Beautiful photos!! I am so glad we are having a mild winter! Who knew you'd actually be able to take a walk in January and not freeze! I have been able to continue to run outside and that's been awesome because it positively impacts my mood and the fresh air is such wonderful elixir since I spend so much time cooped up inside studying these days!!

Beth said...

So no snow there either. What a strange winter. Great walk though!
Thanks for sharing it.

Janet said...

We're having a very mild winter so far with temps in the 60's and 70's. I'm enjoying it...but I don't have a beautiful pond to walk around or ducks to visit with. You got some great photos of the ducks.

Retired English Teacher said...

Brrr. The walk was brisk and refreshing. I haven't been walking since my fall. I loved reading about all you saw and experienced on yours.

Rosa said...

Ahhh, I love the ducks. Poor little boos. Just think how the polar bears feel! No ice? Awwwww. Warm here too.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

I loved taking the walking with you, Jeanie! It was especially fun to visit with the ducks! I love ducks. I had some as pets when I was a child for quite a few years and one in particular touched my heart. I used to carry him around like a baby and he didn't mind a bit -- even liked it when I petted and rubbing my face in the down under his wings. Lovely memories! And so nice to see the beautiful ones in and on your lake!

Barb said...

Jeanie, Your photos of the ducks on the ice are marvelous - I am in awe of the colors and the reflections. I remember this walk but doing it with you on a January day when the ice is thawing is a wonderful treat!

beth said...

i wonder if it's hard for the ducks to walk on ice....i bet it is slippery for them, too....right ?

anno said...

Yes! This weather has been a blessing, for sure! Love taking this walk with you -- familiar walks with good friends are just the best, right? -- and I love the pictures you have of the ducks and berries. Gorgeous colors, beautiful pictures.

As a duck owner, though, I have to caution against feeding bread/crackers to the ducks. They love it, but it contributes to the development of diverticulitus, causes weight gain that can prevent them from being able to fly, and in general is a "junk food" that takes the place of more nutritious choices the ducks might otherwise take.

Instead, consider cracked corn, birdseed, chopped remnants of lettuces (or lettuces that you were thinking of throwing away) or grape halves. Much better nutrition -- especially for young ducks -- and just as much fun for everyone.

Sandy K. said...

I love your duck photos, Jeanie. The color is great and your pictures as very sharp. You were able to get up close and personal - which is quite a bonus! Glad a walk is still possible this time of year! Enjoy!

Bella Rum said...

Love the reflection of the bird house. The ducks are so beautiful. I feel like I was right along side you.

Arti said...

This is a beautiful post, Jeanie! I love every photo, but esp. the ducks. Their colors are gorgeous. Kudos also to the photographer... wonder what kind of a camera she used... since I'm looking for a better one than my pocket one. Now, I'll head over to Chopsticks and String to check that out.

Jennifer Richardson said...

thanks for the walk and talk:)
love those little charmers
and glad they got a bit of a break
in the frozenness
for a bit of happy clamoring
on the pond.
And really glad you were there,
camera in hand,
for winter's intermission.
I do hope for some snow but
could get used to this balmy variety!
happy wintering,

Marilyn said...

A lovely visit to your pond. The ducks are so pretty and it is fun to see them walking on water. Next to my mother-in-laws retirement center there is a pond with ducks, but no frozen water yet this year. Thanks for taking us on your walk.

Tracy said...

Love taking this walk with you, Jeanie... the ducks are such elegant creatures, so glorious their plumage. :o) Happy Weekend ((HUGS))

Annie said...

Delightful to see. Alas, no frozen opportunities in our "winter" world. I enjoy it from afar.

Leann said...

It's bitter cold here with the winds roaring through! So I'll take my walk with you anytime.

Enjoy your weekend!

shoreacres said...

Beautiful ducks - but that ice! Do they stay in the winter? What do they eat? Do their ponds freeze over completely? Oh, my. I know nothing about ducks in winter!

My little "pond" is filled with winter mallards now - the arrive late October or early November and are here until - well, until your ice melts!

~*~Patty S said...

but cold enough to make some ice on the pond :) Love the duck with blue all around seemingly suspended

we are finally more like winter here rather than the 30 degrees warmer we had just a few days ago

Happy Weekend to you

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Oh...those Ducks are Delightful!! LOVE these litttle Ducklings and you should bring some bread for them...They Will Be SOOOOO Very Happy!

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