I stopped at Munson Pond the other day. No reason. I just needed a moment or two of quiet and the turnoff was right there. I was surprised to see the pond had no ice left on it. I didn’t stay long-just long enough to notice the Violet-Green swallows wheeling and diving in the air and the trees reflected in the stillness of the water.
I had planned to drive up into the mountains this week. I figured I’d drop Bear off at work and keep going. But when the time came, I looked at the mountains and all the snow clinging to the rocks and trees and thought, “Nope. Not today.”
Since I had my camera with me, and it was on the way home anyway, I returned to Munson Pond.
The air was still chilly. It was too early for the mercury to have risen above zero. Even the swallows, so prevalent the day before, must have decided it was too cold to be up that early. But there were plenty of other birds to see and appreciate.
I pushed my walker out onto the wooden platform, turned it around, and sat down. I had the whole place to myself. But it was far from quiet. There was the call of the geese, announcing their impending arrival, the distinctive quack of the Mallard, the cheerful song of some unidentified warblers, and the cooing of the Mourning Dove.
There’s not a lot of green yet – just the faintest blush of what’s to come, but the unadorned branches of the Weeping Willow seemed to explode like orange fireworks along the shore.
The sky was a brilliant blue, with wispy, white clouds, and the sunlight cast a snowy sheen on the feathers of the Mergansers.
I spent some time watching the Mergansers. There were four males, all circling one female. One of the males aggressively tried to chase the others away, but he couldn’t keep up, spinning back and forth in a flurry of feathers. The other males kept circling back, while the female floated on, occasionally pausing to preen, seemingly unconcerned with the fuss she was causing.
And I laughed.
I remember what it was like to be that female. Surrounded by boys, all trying to get my attention. From the age of about 14 to the age of 20, there were always boys. I kind of feel bad for the generations that follow mine – there’s almost too much caution. Boys are taught not to compliment girls, not to openly admire them, and certainly never try to kiss them. The nice boys respect those rules. The creepy ones do not. And so, girls are FORCED to be cautious. How on earth do they get to experience the thrill of sexual awakening?
I remember years ago, visiting the Movieland Wax Museum in California. Our tour group was about two steps ahead of the group behind us, and in that group was the most good-looking boy I had ever seen. Our eyes kept meeting in the moments between our group leaving an exhibit and his group approaching.
I dropped back from my group slightly. The next thing I knew, he had taken my hand, pulled me into a dark corner where we kissed madly. We never spoke a word, didn’t exchange names, and of course, I never saw him again. Too much information? Sorry about that.
But it saddens me to know that kind of encounter isn’t even possible anymore.
Of course, my mom always did say I was boy crazy. A few months ago, when I met my birth mother for the first time, I listened to the abbreviated story of her life. When she was done, there was a pause.
“Well,” I said, “my mom always said I was boy crazy. At least now I know where I got that from.”
She looked at me, stunned, and then began to laugh.
So, yes, watching the Mergansers gave me a chuckle and reminded me what it was like to be young. And even though I sometimes feel it would be nice to have a partner to talk to, to share a coffee with, I’m enjoying my life too much right now to be too concerned about it. It’s my time. If I want to spend it with Coots, Widgeons, and Robins, that’s my choice.