She wears the slow as molasses face on a hot, humid morning.
She wears a face that sparkles like brilliant diamonds in the morning sunlight.
She wears a face as old as the Nile. She has seen battles, poets, and writers.
She supports an abundance of life and withstands pollution, litter and daily assaults by power boats. Named by the Musketaquid Indians, her name translates to “grass-ground” for the amazing maze of rushes and brush that bordered her shores. Her colors and energy, in and around her banks, and deep within her waters, astounds me. She is my home.
Mama and Daddy were missing for a few days. I had assumed Mama finally laid her eggs, but, once again, I was wrong. They returned on Saturday and Mama was as fat as ever.
It was a 90 degrees out and she lazed on the beach with Daddy. Such pampered ducks, a long, hot day of eating, sleeping, and preening.
When it gets hot, and ducks get bored, the drama begins. My beach became a scene from West Side Story. Three drakes arrived while Daddy and Mama were snoozing. Daddy woke with a start and immediately went at two of the intruders. The third drake moved past the fighting to put some moves on Mama. She responded with indignant anger but he wasn’t fazed in the least. Mama took off up river, with the offender hot on her tail. I could still hear them, long after they were out of sight. Seeing their buddy chasing Mama, the other two ruffians decided to follow suit. Daddy was left with fewer feathers and a slight limp. But Mama was gone. Quacking softly, Daddy waited on the beach until dusk. Still no Mama. Around 8:00, he waddled onto the retaining wall until well after dark. Every so often he would quack softly. While at my desk, I could hear him. Convinced he was calling for his mate, my heart ached for his longing.
There is a happy ending to the story, though. This morning Mama was back! I’m not sure if she shared any details with him, but Daddy stayed a little closer to her, keeping a watchful eye while she filled her crop.
One would think I only have ducks in my little corner of paradise. So not true. My cove has all types of birds – black-capped chickadees, tufted titmice, house finches, nuthatches, American goldfinches, even a sparrow or two. Include tree swallows, flickers, robins, red-winged blackbirds, ruby-throated hummingbirds, Baltimore orioles, chimney swifts, cormorants, wild turkeys, and red-tailed hawks and Audubon would have been content to spend an afternoon on my porch.
I wouldn’t be honest if I give the impression life is all bliss, here on the Concord River. There’s water seeping into my basement and an army of carpenter ants is threatening to take over the little bungalow I call home. And the spiders. Why does there always have to be spiders? They’re black, fuzzy, with white dots. According to the web, they’re jumping spiders. I try not to kill them. Typically, if I find one in the house, I’ll catch it and put it outside. However, last night while batteling the ants, a spider became a casualty of war. I hope the old saying “Kill a spider, bad luck yours will be. Until of flies you’ve swatted fifty-three,” doesn’t apply in this situation.
So mote it be :)