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Shields: Spring at the Pond

05/28/10 5:55PM By Jeff Shields
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(HOST) Commentator Geoff Shields is planning to spend a good part of the holiday weekend out by the pond.

(SHIELDS) It is spring and I love to spend time sitting by our pond in Guilford.

There is a rock, shaped like a chair which is a favorite vantage point.

The pond is clear and has large boulders on the east side and a little rock island toward the north.  Cat tails on the west and south sides wave in the wind.

It is easy to understand why Thoreau chose to be a hermit next to Walden Pond rather than deep in the woods.

A pond in spring is filled with a thousand delights.  As day breaks, the mother deer and her spotted fawn come to water's edge for a drink - the apple trees at the shore, in full blossom, are reflected white in the crystal water.

The fish rise to collect the latest insect hatch.  The mallards arrive - always, it seems, in couples: the handsome green necked male and his dappled brown mate.

The newts and salamanders hang suspended a foot or two below the water's surface.

The heron swoops in on long wings to pond's edge to wade about in search of frogs.  As the heron departs it must fly up in a corkscrew pattern to avoid the trees as it gains altitude.

The frogs are quick and mostly escape - but reemerge at dusk to give a symphony.  Each type of frog has a different song, and as they all chime in the sound grows louder and louder and eventually seems unbroken.

The swallows and bats come out at dusk to sweep low over the pond collecting black flies and other delicacies to build their strength.

As night settles, the moon reflects on the pond, and I set off to sleep, a happy man.
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