Watching, maybe more precise to say observing. It seems I‘ve done lots of watching in my life. I have always been curious about things that people do. Carpenters, brick masons, plumbers, electricians, and the many machine operators I watched in later life. By watching I learned to do lots of tasks simply by remembering what I had watched them do. I’ve been a DIY’er all my life even with all the frustration of not everything going as planned I know I saved lots of money! Isn’t that the reason we do these things by ourselves not just to say we did it but to say we saved lots of money!
Since I retired about 13 years ago I have fine-tuned my watching skills to the point where I can say I am an expert in several fields of watching. I am indeed an expert in watching paint dry and grass grow and snow fall and other folks working. It is really neat to have these skills. I mean they are really important to keeping one mentally alert and avoiding that bottomless pit of mental decline that lurks around every turn in our lives path. Not to brag too much but, I have seen falling rock. You’ve seen the signs along the road to “watch for falling rocks”. Well I did and I did indeed see them fall somewhere down in Kentucky.
After getting settled in here on the reservation I have worked hard to continually hone my watching skills and because we live on one of the ponds I have gained considerable knowledge about Mother Nature. For instance, baby ducks don’t live very long on the pond. Baby ducks must be the daily meal special for the several snapping turtles that come out of hibernation extremely hungry just about the time for the spring duckling hatch.
Another phenomenon I have watched is that ducks and Geese, as well, make babies in the water. I’m not a voyeur but you can’t help seeing what happens in broad daylight. Not much different that the rest of the animal kingdom, humans included, he asks and she says yes or no. Stop by this spring and I’ll show you all I know about the sex life of ducks and geese. No appointment necessary.
But, last night I think I had the ultimate in watching experiences, absolutely the pinnacle of additions to my resume of the art of watching. Last month the pond froze over twice and remained so for several days. The second time it froze it froze pretty deep because when it warmed up the first part of Feb. it took several warm days to melt away. It took so long to melt that the resident fishermen couldn’t fish those couple of days when it almost got to 60 degrees, can’t fish on a frozen pond. Then this week it has turned bitter cold as you know. Windy and cold, almost unbearable. The wind was so strong that we almost had whitecaps on the pond. Day before yesterday and that night and yesterday the wind kept the wind chill in single digits but the pond remained fluid.
After supper last night I was setting at the kitchen table reading another book on my favorite subject, The American Civil War when I happened to look out my window on the pond and noticed that the water had calmed down. With light from the street lights and maybe a little help from the moon it was obvious that the wind had died down and as I looked upon the water it froze! Almost in an instant the entire surface turned into ice. I can now say “I saw a pond freeze. “ I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to top that but I will keep watching.
Thanks for listening.