Today there were three residents, two aggressive males with gorgeous green throats, the mallard masters of the pond.
One dull little brown duck, the female. A man tossed the universal food, Cheerios, one by one, to the female, then the males came charging over for their – and her – share.
The pond had little islands interspersed between the waterfall and the low rim of the pond where people and dogs sat. Each island was strewn with stones, clearly seen in March since the sheltering plants had been shorn, cut back for winter. In a few months, though, the plants will grow back to fullness with their long and broad shafts and fluffy tops. Hidden within will be the ducklings that would be tended by both males and female.
The little islands in the pond, perhaps five or six feet across, were strewn with stones and bound by what looked like barrel staves sliced to a height of a foot or so. They were wrapped with rusting metal bands, but surely they were stone, under the water, not wood.
This is real, not a decoy!
“No,” my friend said, “come closer and look.” We stepped closer to the edge and bent over, our tailfeathers less entertaining than those of the ducks, and peered under the water. “Wood. Coated with something to avoid rot? Creosote?”
I visited my friend today because I felt she needed a trip to the duck pond. At least I thought that I thought she needed it. As it turns out, I’m the one who needed the duck pond. Its quiet. Its movement. Its promise of new life.
~ Molly Matera, turning off the computer, the lights, everything.