Bless the Beasts – Day 6

This morning I am remembering a happier time.

I am remembering one foggy morning this past Spring when I came upon a mother Black Duck and her new family.

And the only thing these ducklings knew back then was the love of their Mum…

How warm she kept them at night on the nest, how good things tasted as they learned to find them!

And today all I can hear in my head are the words of this song as I think of these little ones now, coming into harm’s way.

“Bless the beasts and the children;
Light their way when the darkness surrounds them;
Give them love, let it shine all around them.”

“Give them shelter from a storm…”

“Keep them safe, keep them warm.”

– Songwriters: Barry De Vorzon / Perry L Botkin

Dreaming today… of a better day for them all.

❤ ❤ ❤

A Very “Great” Elegance

Sharing a very special visit with a Great Blue Heron that I met recently over at Cockle Cove one early morning.

He was fishing…

In the company of several charming Black Ducks paddling nearby.

The privilege of photographing these birds is an experience like no other for me.

Each time I visit with them holds a different kind of magic.

They can be so graceful, so elegant in their movement…

And even a bit whimsical at times!

I have them to thank for all the magic, and for allowing me to be in their presence.

And I do……   ❤ ❤ ❤

See You Soon, Mill Landing

For several years now, I’ve done a walk with my camera from Forest Beach to Mill Landing and back again; my “Forest Beach Loop”.

And as I walk along, I look for beauty — in the dunes, in the air, along the creek.

This area is like a sanctuary for me. The walks not only restore my spirit but they’ve also become a glorious way to share the amazing beauty that is here on Cape Cod.

Which is what made yesterday such a sad and stunning day for me.

I had just reached the top of Osprey Hill when I heard the BOOM!

Within a split second I heard a duck on the wing, quacking loudly in the marsh below and landing abruptly – and alone – in one of the shallow creeks.

Then all was quiet.

Scanning the marsh below me I spotted something I never thought I’d see here before – a straw bale.

My heart sank for I knew what it meant: hunting season had come to Forest Beach marsh.

How can this be? I thought as I headed toward Mill Landing. In such a densely populated area, with all of the houses that line the marsh’s edge, where people walk their dogs and their children right there along the marsh? Seriously?

I made it to the Mill but instead of my usual excitement about reaching this beloved destination, I was filled with dread.

And sure enough, I could see the straw bale straight out from the Landing  across the estuary; so close I decided to get behind the short stockade fence in case I heard more shots.

My hands were stone cold. I did not take my camera out, I did not take a single photo.

I guess I knew it even then — I would not becoming back to Mill Landing until hunting season was over.

The wild animals I have come to know here at Mill Creek are my teachers and my friends. My connection with them is strong; my respect for them, stronger.

As I walked along in the dimming light I thought about the Canada couple this summer who shared their beautiful family with me.

Trusting me with their precious ones, just yards away….

Those precious fluff balls sure made me giggle!  😉

I felt honored to be allowed to observe them, as through the summer I watched them grow into young geese; slightly smaller versions of their parents.

I also thought about the family of baby Black Ducks I had come upon up at Taylor Pond in late August. Boy, their Mama sure looked proud!

No, I would never want to do anything to bring harm to a single one of these amazing creatures.

I’d never forgive myself if one day I was walking down the hill to the Landing only to see how my presence had sent a flock of geese or ducks into the air, heading straight for the gun barrels only yards away.

No photo is worth that risk.

In the meantime, I’ll be searching for beauty elsewhere.

And living for the day in late January when I am once again walking down that hill to Mill Landing at sunset.

Listening for those familiar honks and quacks, waiting to see the Canadas flying with wings outstretched, wingtip to wingtip.

Be well, dear Friends, you are in my heart.

The Magic of Fog

Some people shy away from a rolling fog as it moves in.

Me? I can’t wait to get out into the fog, just to see what kind of magic it has spun — and who might be out and about, like me.

The fog the other morning at Forest Beach was as intense as I’ve ever seen it; everything covered with thick, misty clouds.

Yet while some things seemed to fade from view, some of the fall color seemed more vibrant than ever.

Even the faded-out rosa rugosa hips looked more alive than they had just the day before.

Gazing out to sea, I heard the sound of a fishing boat and could just barely make out the shape of a gull keeping watch on a jettie.

Further up the beach I spotted the red hull of a sunfish, yet the fog over the dunes made it look like the beach disappeared just beyond them.

Many of the plants and bushes along the marsh were covered with diaphanous dew-covered webs.

Intricate in their shapes and patterns, I could picture them as the inspiration for a custom silk fabric.  😉

Even some of the wild berries were covered with the delicate little webs; dew droplets hung heavy from nearby twigs.

As the morning light shone through the webs and dew droplets it made me think of a Christmas tree trimmed with tiny white bulbs and glistening tinsel!

By the time I made it to Cockle Cove, the rising sun was making an all-out effort to break through the fog.

Beautiful blue cedar berries and more dew droplets hung from the boughs of every cedar tree along the creek.

And as I slowly turned my camera further up the creek, I was suddenly startled by the reflection of a great blue heron who was busy fishing!

I smiled as he slowly peered into a shallow pool. He almost seemed to be saying, “Mirror, mirror that I see, who could be any lovelier than me?”

But we were not alone for breakfast, as several black ducks emerged through the mist to join the party.

Quacking softly, as all ducks do.

Meanwhile the sky was brightening. The sunlight was working its magic on the bittersweet along the marsh’s edge.

Nearly every berry seemed to have a tiny dew droplet all its own!

Just then I heard some sker-plashing in the shallow water past the old cedar where I stood.

Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a pair of black ducks in the mist, moving up the channel with great haste.

Upon closer look, I noticed that the one in the lead was carrying a tiny crab in its beak as he exclaimed, “It’s time for brunch, time for brunch! Don’t be late, it’s time for brunch!”

“Why thank you for the reminder, Little Duck,” I responded.

And although I hated to leave, I had to admit I was a little hungry, too.

I guess all that fog magic had given me quite the appetite!  😉