I venture out this splendid September late afternoon, basking in warm golden light. I’ve been feeling crummy, a head cold. Parking by a backwoods pond I drink in the reflected hemlocks, trailing bows in the water.
A tiny duck sails out from a little cove. I wish for binoculars. But instead, patience. (And google who tells me she’s probably a ruddy duck.) She glides leaving only the tiniest ripple in her wake. Sips water, let’s it roll over her, shakes her feathers. Then disappears.
I ask her to come closer, and soon she grants my wish, moving this way from the clear center of the pond. Gets close enough that I see her paddling feet in the clear water.
She dives, and now in well-lit shallows I can watch her, a sleek missile, speeding toward the bottom. After a while she bobs up, glittering.
A cloud of gnats swirl in a column of light. Bees dance among the asters.
Another bird soars in low over the pond, banking like a plane, circling the pond. Lands on a curving dead branch and chitters- a kingfisher. Bird and branch, twice, in the pond mirror.