Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The ducky pond

We love to go and watch the geese. It's a retention pond in a mixed residential and industrial business area, between some busy traffic routes in our beloved Winnipeg. Rather underrated this wayward park, the odd dog drags it's owner around the prickly slopes for some daily exercise. Most everyone respects this summer home, the first awareness of earth's splendor for those young little guys, the goslings who paddle so hard to keep up with their protective parents. They share this little oasis with a few Mallard ducks and a whole bunch of Red Wing Blackbirds who nest in the reeds. The gulls come in for a treat from their staple McDonald's diet, and the odd scoop of Pelicans will drop down from their ever circling ride on the thermals to catch a bit of R&R and maybe a few tadpoles.

My wife, she'll wake me up at the wee hour of 9:30 am all dressed and ready to go for a ride to that ducky pond which I had unawares promised, I don't know when, in that vague past of a foggy dementia. “Would you mind some breakfast first?” as I slide a cup of cold coffee into the microwave, trying to unglue my eyes and get my arthritic legs functioning, not to mention my head. My first thought is always “Maybe she'll forget and I can leisurely read the news and let the world slowly awaken in my noggin,” but no, dementia has a long memory when you're sweet on some adventure. So it's a quick breaky, with the purse not forsaking that shoulder, and off we go and of course we have to pick up a cup of tea. That's part and parcel of the ducky pond.

So... there she seats herself, on a little bridge. And she talks to them. “Helloo. We're back.” The adults look on while the youngsters approach in their innocence. Families of slightly different ages and sizes, always eating, picking away whether on water or on shore. They must grow for that long flight south, and grow they do. And they drill for strength and stamina, swimming in long lines against the wind, following their mommy, always one little one straggling to keep up. The line slows, and the little one catches up. It's bread crumbs they really would like. Some people feed them, but not us. “Sorry.” The green grass is almost as good though and they pick, pick away. She's in her little heaven, my wife, “Oh how pretty you are, helloo.”
They dug this little pond out of the flat prairie lake bed of Agassiz around 1967 to mimic the marshes which once soaked up those 5 inch downpour and hail and wind and lightening displays which thrill us every summer. They dredged out a whole scad of them all over Winnipeg because it was the cheapest way to alleviate the overland flooding which occurred on a regular basis on our flat 400 square miles of residential and industrial achievements. So the gooses came back, and they love it. We even mow their lawns for them, but they insist on the fertilizing themselves, send all the potash to South America you know.

The tea is finished. The goslings have wandered off and are headed back to their pond. The sun is high and burning our arms, us Winnipegers who have twenty days a year when air conditioning feels needed. She says “Are you ready to go?” So hand in hand we shuffle back up the long path to the parking lot. “Goody bye, good bye, we'll be back, oh you look so pretty.”
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