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The Art of Living
Walking on a gravel trail, my eyes lazily wander to the pond where so much comes to life. Everyday, I see something new; the scenery, never the same from one day to the next. A small yet busy pond flourishing with song birds, ducks, geese, loons, snakes and fish and wildlife that I have yet to spy.
Riparian habitat is special because it serves as home to an abundant variety of wildlife, or as a rest stop for passersby to forage and drink before resuming their arduous journey. Shrinking significantly in numbers throughout the country and the world for that matter, these havens provide the necessities of survival for wildlife.
As I approach the pond and descend slightly, I note the variety of scat littered along the path. Fox, maybe, Racoon, yes, Coyote, likely; so lately the predators have been frequent visitors based on the evidence that lays before me.
Hold on! I stop in excitement; the family of Red-headed ducks has become a family of 7! There are 5-new Red-headed ducklings, and they are out for a short swim with mom nearby and dad lagging behind protecting his brood.
The exotic black Loon is also out for a swim. She glides along the cool water past the Geese. I look out in the distance to catch a glimpse of the Goslings (George and Gracie's recent arrivals -- see Ecological Stewardship Epilogue, April 2014). There are 4 Goslings, but at the moment, George, Gracie and their new Goslings are nowhere to be seen or heard. Hmmm, maybe they are grazing in the meadow under one of the Cottonwood trees?
What is that in the distance coming towards me? A Muskrat? Salamander? A water snake! A rather large one blending in with the pond's dark silty water. All I can see is a little bit of its snout poking out of the water, and a tiny part of its muscular body that acts as a rudder forcing small wakes in the pond. It gets to about 10 feet from the shore, and then I see its smooth black-grey shape go under, down, down, down into the water; its long sinewy body arching slightly above the water as it makes its descent into the blackness. This fellow is quite long and looks more look a serpent than a snake. Time to keep walking. I regain focus to my surroundings after my fascination with the dark 'serpent'; and I can hear the various songbirds singing their high-pitched tunes as they remain perched on the reeds and tree branches.
My walk ascends slightly as I move farther away from the flourishing pond. Enjoying these brief moments are a gift and brighten my day. Today, I sacrificed nothing; my soul and mind gaining everything good. Tomorrow will be here soon enough and will beckon me closer to the water's edge so I can examine all of its treasures and be surprised by each of them.
The Art of Living is ...
Inspiration from nature's beauty, simple living, love, and peace.