The pond always helps me cope. As a body of water, it couldn’t be humbler: a mere retention pond, gunky in the summer, lacking tide and horizon, held in entirety by a few back yards, it is little more than a puffed-up puddle. But I watch it with growing respect and affection. Occasionally I have been weak in the head and have presumed to know it. And then it teaches me I don’t know much.
Case in point: two days ago I spotted what I thought were ducks. Suddenly they were gone and the water was empty. Then they reappeared some place else. I was hallucinating ducks?
Naturally I ran for my camera with its zoom lens. With great ado, I caught a close-up but before I could focus and take a picture they were gone again. Only a flutter of the water remained.
To make an excruciatingly long story short, I ended up with a million bad photos and some time on Google. Now I know there is such a thing as diving ducks. Like quacking submarines: now you see them, now you don’t! And they have wonderful names! I believe mine are buffleheads. I want them to be buffleheads because I want to be able to say I have buffleheads.
I do try to avoid the word “cute,” but I can’t when describing these. As they paddled toward me, they looked like the cutest salt and pepper shakers I ever did see. Next to the mallards, mere toys.