Thursday, June 10, 2010


Today I focus my awareness on seeing. A blue heron flies overhead. I return to the duck pond again to contemplate the patterns in the duckweed. Circling it again and again, I observe it from a distance, from above, from the edges. It is roughly oval in shape and about the size of a soccer field. The plant I am calling duckweed covers most of the surface, it shifts slowly during the day sometimes being like a thin veil over the entire surface, sometimes in patches speckling the surface and sometimes it all moves to one end or the other. The father duck is no longer there, but the mother duck and ducklings are still feeding on the duckweed as they glide slowly along the surface. For the past three days the father duck has been nowhere to be found. The rest of the family hides in the tall reeds, but he is not there. Today after feeding for a while, the mother duck takes up the place of the father duck on the stump in the middle of the pond and preens herself. The little ducklings continue feeding, braver now to move further away from her. They come close to where I am standing by the edge of the pond making gentle little quacking sounds. I continue circling and turtle jumps into the water disguising itself with duckweed. It pokes its head out occasionally to see if I’m still there. The water is very clear but the bottom is covered with thick brown silt. The green plant and brown silt make it uninviting for humans to swim in. I do not see any fish, but the heron had been fishing here for something. There is an occasional bubble on the surface from something breathing underneath. The patches of duckweed must look like clouds from underneath. I see their reflection on the bottom of the pond, creating shady places. The turtle’s experience of the pond reminds me of our experience of the cosmos. It cannot explore too far and much of what it sees is a mystery. The mother duck leads her ducklings for their first venture out of the pond to feed on the grass. They get bolder and move further away from her as they explore this new food. She shows them how to pull down the blades of grass and eat the tips where the seeds are. They try to mimic her but are not as adept at it, stumbling and shaking their heads as they try. Occasionally, one of them is able to pull something up and eat it making a great display of their success. I marvel at how quickly they are growing and wonder about where the father duck has gone. I think he must have flown away. Soon the ducklings learn to fly too. I hope I am here to see it . . . and that the cat is not.