Friday, June 19, 2009

An Ordinary Extraordinary Day

Water Smartweed decorates the shore of Mud Pond

Today I felt just dazzled by joy over all the blessings that are mine.  Just an ordinary day, neither rain nor sun, neither hot nor cold, but filled with intense delight.  I woke from a deep sound sleep in a comfy bed, my dear husband still sharing my bed after 46 years.  A great  cup of coffee, the Times on the doorstep, sweet kitties rubbing against my shins as I ladled out their breakfast.  Just ordinary, quotidian things, but somehow the veil of unmindfulness was lifted for me today.  My house is paid for, my children are thriving, my husband and I still have our good health, and every hour of the day now belongs to me, since I have retired.  Our retirement savings have dwindled, it's true, with the current recession, but who needs money to travel the world when such a splendid world of natural beauty lies all around us here in Saratoga County.  My only dilemma today was, which site would I visit? 

Mud Pond at Moreau Lake State Park was my destination.  I hadn't walked there since the ice went out, when newts and tadpoles and fishing spiders warmed themselves in the shallow water next to shore.  Today the pond was edged with Fragrant Water Lilies and pretty pink Water Smartweed.  The still water mirrored a sky aswirl with clouds the color and texture of Carrera  marble.

No photo can ever do justice to the iridescent blue of this damselfly.

Dragonflies and damselflies flew everywhere, the pugnacious big dragons dipping into the water from time to time (were they nabbing prey or fighting their own reflections?), the slender damsels darting among the tall grass and blueberry bushes along the shore.  And love was in the air.  Coupling damselflies formed hearts in the grass, and some flies were having a fling on a leaf. 

Is this how we got the expression "Hugga Bugga"?

A little grey and white moth rested under my hat brim and stayed there, just above my left eyebrow, for the longest time.  A ladybug sat still long enough for me to take its picture.

One motive for choosing Mud Pond today was to see if the Frostweed (Helianthemum canadense) had come into bloom.  It grows abundantly along a sandy path, and today its buds were swelling, but hadn't yet opened.  I found this plant at this site late last fall, when frozen curls of sap made evident the reason for its name.

Along that same path grow masses of hazelnut shrubs, the forming nuts now encased in green ruffles, as pretty as carnations. I have never in my life found a ripe hazelnut.  The wild critters get there first, and steal them while they're still green.

And look what else I found:  tiny green toads, spotted with orange, as cute as cute can be.  They were everywhere on the sandy path, and at first I thought they were crickets.  I had to walk very carefully, so as not to squash them as they scurried to climb the steep sides of the path, their teensy-weensy starry toes scrabbling against the sand.  I could have kissed them, they were so dear.  And if they had turned into princes, I couldn't have been more full of delight than I was already.

What a day!  And to top it off, I didn't have to rush home to fix dinner.  Friday nights are date nights for my husband and me:  dinner out and then a movie.  What a lucky lady I am.


Ellen Rathbone said...

Common delights don't get enough time in the spotlight.

Your ladybug is the Asian one (courtesy of Japan). They come in many colors and patterns, but are basically large and round.

And your dragonflies (were they paired?) may have been laying eggs as they dipped to the water (tail end dipping). If the front was dipping (and they were flying solo), they may have been taking a sip of H2O.

Great fly pic!

Ali @ Hilltop said...

When the Bluebird School, now the SGF school district Administration building, was used for classrooms in the 1950's and 60's we used to pick hazelnuts from the shrubs that bordered the playground. Mrs. Bush and Miss Betar also helped us play "pioneer" teaching us to make woven mats from what we called "buffalo" grass as we played under the pine trees. I wonder if there are any wild hazelnuts left in that area? So much of what was open space then is now housing landscaped with introduced plants.

suep said...

Tuesday I was at Mud Pond and noticed those little toads - they were all over the path - making you walk carefully, like Gulliver in Lilliput.

I check the frostweed every time I am there, it was in full bloom back around the 1st of June.

Thoreau says it blooms three times a year-?- when is the second time(he's counting the frost as the third!)

Paul said...

It looks as if the ladybug was about to dine on an aphid or some such critter. So often the more you look the more you see in you photo shots.