Friday, December 21, 2007

Peace at the Pond and my wish for you...


I just had to go back for three consecutive days, leaving all of the holiday prep behind. Free time dictates, you know.


The Great Blue Heron delights me.
Patient and vigilant with its powerful sight,
slow and deliberate walking motion beneath the calm waves…ahhh.
It found lunch and devoured it, hidden behind a tree.


I coasted to park the car and turned off the ignition. To my left sat the Belted Kingfisher, perched in a tree about twenty feet away. Heart rate up. The windows were closed (damn!) and I powered the camera quickly to get a fine portrait of her, only to realize the lens cap was in the way and I cursed. She was gone.


With a full and blurry zoom, I can see the gleam in her eye, at least.

It was a surprise to see a lifer in the bottom of a photo I had downloaded two days prior. Not the usual Canadian Goose or Mallard… I had to go back!

The skies were dark and the winds were biting but I didn’t mind my numbing fingers or watery eyes. I waited for her.

There she was, a female Hooded Merganser (Click to enlarge all photos). Much smaller and busier than the rest,

she spent more of her time under water than above it.

Could this be one of the many large Comets or Shubunkins I set free in this very same pond? I doubt it. If so, I consider them my gifts.

Gaining control.

‘Twas worth the struggle. Bravo.

Rested and full.

I don’t know how long I was there, taking in the beauty of the pond and the life it sustains. There, I felt peace.

It was my time to think. I wondered how many people stop to look or even notice this pond on their way in to the food store, the bank, the pizza joint, or the nail salon. They only need to glance to their right…


For a few moments, I turned my focus behind me and saw the hustle and bustle. There were cars racing towards the strip mall and I saw the Mexican construction workers laughing on the jobsite. I heard the Latino music blaring from their trailer.


Funny, I didn’t hear or notice any of that until I turned around to look behind me.

At home, I faced another challenge - one that I welcome. You know – my desire for a portrait of a Tufted Titmouse that will make me proud. There’s still time…

Time and a disconnect from all the pressure. This is what I wish for you. In large or small doses – whatever you can manage during the holiday season, I wish you peace.


Merry Christmas! With love.


RuthieJ said...

Wow, Mare, those are the best pictures and a wonderful story. How cool you got to see that merganser and eating a fish too! Good kingfisher photo and excellent titmouse "action" pose. I'm so happy you got the time to enjoy the beauty of this pond today. Thanks for sharing (especially for those of us still stuck in our work cubicles)

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Another really fine post and pictures May. Thank you for the reminder to look around in the now to see what's going on right under our busy noses. I love your titmouse photo- all action!

JeanMac said...

Merry Christmas with love to you and your Family, too.

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Mary, great shots. I wish I knew of a place to go to get some waterfowl pictures like that.

I always feel more peaceful when I'm in the midst of nature. Too bad that during the hustle and bustle of life most people miss the beauty that is so near.

Jayne said...

Awwww Mary, what a wonderful post! Best wishes to you and yours for a Christmas filled with peace and love dear friend. Our stockings are already filled with the joy you bring here by your sweet presence. Love and hugs!

NatureWoman said...

I love your merganser photo of her eating the fish! Very cool Mary! Of course I love all of your other photos, too. Merry Christmas to you, too, Mary.

Anonymous said...

Amazing pictures. There is something about a pond, isn't there?

That picture of the "Stinker" is amazing -- the background texture of the water looks like an art piece. Very cool.

And, I think that Tufted Titmouse picture is something to be proud of! Very, very cool!

Julie Zickefoose said...

Your hooded merg shots and message RAWK. You found wonder and beauty in a pond everyone else just whips right by. That's what life's all about. Gorgeous, gorgeous gorgeous. It's learning to let such things sustain us through the insanity of everyday life that's hard--but so worthwhile. Yessss.

Carol Michel said...

Those are amazing pictures. Thanks for sharing them.

I wish you peace for the season as well,

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

entoto said...

Mary, that is an awesome photo of the kingfisher. And a hooded merganser. YIPPY!!!!

Happy Christmas to you and your family.

Marvin said...

Oh, WOW!, Mary, what a great post and terrific collection of photos. Ya done good!

Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Mary . . . I so wish I could have been there with you seeing all these guys! I always love your photography and that titmouse shot is PERFECT!

The Quacks of Life said...

happy christmas

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Oh Mary, you did bring a restful, peaceful interlude to my day with your pictures. I could just see the Hoodie feeding and then going to rest. The Kingfisher and Titmouse pictures were good too. Thanks for all your posts. A Very Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Unknown said...

Well where the hell have I been to almost let two posts slip by me. The photos and stories are wonderful. It is amazing how a pond in the middle of shopping ciaos can be so peaceful and full of life. Sad that a lot of people just don't take notice.

Mary you have a wonderful Christmas my friend. So glad I got to know you.

Larry said...

What a great shot of the Merganser eating the fish! -For someone who doesn't do much birding outside of her own yard, you sure are a good birder.-Have you been sand bagging us?

Anonymous said...

Beautiful beautiful work, Mary. I wish meal preparation were as easy as the Merganser(?). Merry Christmas, friend. Looking forward to the adventure that is 2008.

Mary C said...


I wish you and your family a peace-filled Christmas and a happy and healthy new year. Great shots!

Naturegirl said...

Mary this was a peaceful time spent with you! I always am amazed how nature can take all our cares away as we become absorbed in watching them!
Oh your little doggies are so realxed too and that is what you come home to every day!!

My sweet friend wishing you peace and Joy during the Christmas celebration..I shall once more before the 25th.

I took a wee tumble w/ crutches so they have been taken away from me so my wheelie and replaced with wheel chair..the therapists said they were too dangerous for me as I have a NON weight bearing cast.
:( NG

Susan Gets Native said...

Oh, Mary. Those are just wonderful! I'm so proud of you.
Don't ya just love mergansers? I wonder if other birds think that mergs are part of a weird cult, with their punk 'do's.

Life is enriched by slowing the Hell down and taking time to watch an ignored pond. Your life is better for it. And ours are too!
GREAT job.
Merry Christmas to my dear friend.

Anonymous said...

So glad you stopped and looked closely, Mary. What wonderful shots you got. I can imagine that pond shoot made your day!
Merry Christmas to you and your family and all of the dogs.


dmmgmfm said...

Fabulous photos as always, Mary. I so enjoy seeing you and your bird friends. Thanks for sharing.

Merry Christmas,

Bill said...

Amazing shots, Mary! I always enjoy stopping by.

Dawn said...

What beautiful waterbirds. It must be so satisfying to see the birds enjoying all that water after your drought. Lovely! :-)

Alyssa said...

I've really enjoyed the pictures of the Merganser and Kingfisher. I like how you integrated your peaceful birding with the message of peace that this holiday represents. I'm done with most of my stressful stuff and am ready to relax, enjoy and reflect on this special time of year.

Have a wonderful Christmas, Mary. I hope the girls have some special treats and soft toys under the tree. (Garm and Thea got theirs a little early. Santa also got both of them breath strips so they'll be able to greet our company without doggie breath!) I wish all of my best to you and your two and four-legged family.

Denise said...

I am always amazed at you... where in the world do you find the time... This was wonderful.. just like being there........ you so inspire me.....

Merry Christmas ..........

kate said...

Your Great Blue Heron photographs are beautiful. I am always amazed at how you are able to get such good pics.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season filled with lots of good times, much love and many cherished memories!

oldcrow61 said...

Lovely pictures Mary. I love the way you tell a story. You're right, people don't take the time to stop and see the beauty around them. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

The French Nest said...

Beautiful photos, Mary. Wishing you adn your family a wonderful Christmas and all the best in 2008!


Q said...

Dear Mary,
Merry Christmas!
All of your photos are so lovely. You were gifted and in turn gifted us! Thank you. You are an artist.
Spending time with nature is time well spent. Spending time with you is spending time in Heaven here on Earth.
I am so impressd with your fantastic photos. I shall go back and drool!
Merry Christmas dear friend.

Kerri Farley said...

FANTASTIC photos Mary!
Merry Christmas to you and your family...and your precious doggies!

I look forward to blogging more with you in 2008!

nina at Nature Remains. said...

A wish for peace for you, as well! And enjoyment of the day(s) with family that are so precious.
Thank you for such beautiful images and your appreciation of what I know I will always find here.
A very merry to you!

Peg Silloway said...

Mary, your photos and your special artist's view are wonderful gifts all year long. Thank you for taking the time and love to see what so many miss as they (sometimes we) dash through life. Your blog is a treasured haven of peace. May your Christmas be warm and wonderful, and may your New Year be full of lifers!

Susan said...

great photos as always! I've never had good luck with kingfisher photos. They seem so skittish!

possumlady said...

A Very Merry Christmas to you Mary. The titmouse photo is really incredible! Hope you can enjoy the rest of the week with little to no deadlines for anything

dguzman said...

Wow wow wow wow--I love that titmouse photo! And hurray for you on the merganser! Beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing this peaceful time with us.

David said...

A beautiful reflection on peace, complemented by stunning photos. Thank you for this gift to all of us, Mary. Merry Christmas!