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duck pond magic

Sarah Cunningham's picture

Yesterday I went and sat on a bench by the Duck Pond for quite a while, entering into the richness of the site. Then I went and sat close to the water for a while, where there are strange hobbit-like things (that's how I feel about them) sticking up out the ground, which I think must be part of the root system of the larch trees. See picture below, if I ever manage to upload it!

 I had my phone with me, and a notebook and pen and pencil, but yesterday I did not use them. Today when I went back I took some photos and two videos of the pond ripples moving over the pond's stillness, mesmerizing. (Did you know that word comes from the name of a person, Mr. Mesmer, who invented hypnotism?). Just now I have spent nearly an hour trying without success to upload one of the videos. Can my words be worth a thousand pictures? I can't even seem to upload a still photo at the moment. YouTube does not seem to be on my side.

I call this site rich, much more so than the labyrinth, I suppose mainly because of the sheer number of species. Silver maple. Larch. Willow. Sweet Gum tree. Sycamore. Burdock. Goldenrod. Wild Clematis. Other vines, other wild flowers and herbs. Jewelweed. Lianas. Robins. Humans of course, often with their young, feeding the ducks. Wild roses. Blackberry. Ducks. Canada geese. Turtles (how many different species?) Fish, certainly carp, how many more? Heron. Squirrel. Yes, black squirrels as well grey. Down the path a way I was eye to eye with a grey squirrel looking at me out of a hole in a tree, about three feet away! And these are only the obvious species, the ones I know. Raccoons! Last year as I was walking towards the duckpond I heard a loud shriek and saw something fall with a crash from high in a tree, landing near the stream. When I got nearer I saw that it was two raccoons fighting. The larger one had the upper hand, keeping the smaller - younger - one pinned to the ground, biting its neck and head. They went on and on, seemingly trying to kill each other. I watched for ten minutes, fifteen minutes, feeling appalled and privileged. Finally they separated, tired I guess. I felt relieved, having had the impression I was going to see a fight to the death. Both raccoons walked down to the stream and drank, a couple of feet apart. After a minute or two the big one went over and attacked the smaller one again, holding it by the neck so its nose was under water. After about 30 seconds the smaller raccoon stopped struggling. The other one chewed on it a bit more, then released it and looked at it. It did not move. Drowned. Finally the big one waddled away, into the middle of the stream, drank a bit more, and out the other side, off into the woods. It looked so much like a deliberate strategy: the old guy not only stronger, but wilier, and (my imagination says) with the absolute imperative of defending his territory against young upstarts before they grow strong enough to defeat him. Real life, and death, goes on around here! Today it's all peaceful. As far as I can see.