Pause for Thought – a five minute read – Week 38

Genesis 8 v 6 – 12

Hello Duck

We have experienced a few weeks of inclement weather recently, heavy rain and quite heavy snow, which has resulted in the ground being saturated. My front garden has standing water in the flower beds; however, the rear garden has suffered even worse.

I have 50 to 75 mm, (2 to 3 inches) of standing water over the majority of my lawn and the path leading up to the dry stone wall that i built last summer.

I always fancied a swimming pool but not just like this one.

In the past I have had a number of welcome visitors into my garden including, Hedgehogs, Woodpeckers, Pheasants, Foxes, and on two occasions Buzzards from the local Country Park. However, the flooded terrain has attracted something that I have not seen before in my garden.

Two ducks.

It could be argued that ducks are not unusual but these two were white ducks, the kind that are often seen in farmyards and I suspect that their ability to fly great distances is limited.

When COVID permits, I regularly don my walking boots and walk across the fields at the rear of my house and visit Locko Park, a private country park with public access. The centre piece of the park is the large mansion house, Locko Hall, but for me the large lake is far more interesting, particularly the water fowl that either resides on or around the water, or visits seasonally.

I find that standing beneath a large Willow tree looking out across the lake and observing the life on the water unfold before me to be extremely spiritual. This has been the source and inspiration of many a sermon in the past. I can understand when experts tell us that walking in the countryside and particularly beside water can be beneficial to our mental wellbeing.

On my visits to the lake I have regularly spotted a multitude of species of water fowl all with their own characters, some of which reflect that of many human equivalents.

There is the Grey Heron who is the sergeant major, shoulders back, chest out, head up, standing to attention on the island in the middle of the lake. It must have a nest close by and stands guard like a soldier on guard duty. He keeps a close eye on the RAF Heavy Bomber Squadron that approach in formation from the fields at the rear of the hall.

 These are the Canada Geese that come in low with their feet down like undercarriage, and then hit the water with a confusion of exploding spray that obliterates the birds for a second before they settle down.  I can imagine a, ‘Dam Buster’ type of conversion passing between them as they approach; ‘Red Leader calling, Target in view, right chaps I ‘m going in.’ and then the reply, ‘Blue Leader – Roger Red Leader we’re right behind you.’

All this excitement does not impress the Mallard Ducks; they are far too busy chatting up and trying to impress the girls. The boys have dressed up especially for the occasion, with their best suits on. Their colourful plumage with red, green and yellow makes them irresistible to the ladies, or so they think. They paddle around the girls showing off and dipping their heads in the water then shaking off the water droplets.

 ‘Are you dancing? ‘Then the reply.

 ‘Are you asking?’

Just like the Majestic Ballroom in Bradford on a Saturday night in the 1960s

The Crested Grebe always impresses me. It has a stature and a design that is perfect for its survival. Its long pointed beak, slender sleek body, and an ability to hold its breath longer that any scuba diver gives it the advantage over other competitors for the food in the lake.

It could be the nuclear submarine of the lake.

When its sensitive radar detects food under the surface its brain cries out, ‘Dive, dive, dive.’  And it disappears in a flash beneath the waves with hardly a ripple on the surface, but where will it resurface? I scan the area of its disappearance through my binoculars but never predict the right place; it always resurfaces in another part of the lake.

Genesis 8 v 6 – 12

Noah had a dilemma, the water was receding and his boat had come to rest but as no other land was visible around him he knew he must be on a mountain top and not on low land.

How could he discover the extent of the land that was available? He sent out a Raven but Ravens live in high places and do not need low lands. The Raven never returned.

Noah sent out a Dove who feeds on the ground but it found no ground to feed on so it returned. After several further attempts the Dove discovered food only available at a low dry level, a young Olive branch.

Noah knew the flood was over and it was safe to disembark.

I opened my Patio doors and accidentally scared the white ducks off; however, they did not fly away. They just waddled off through a gap in the fence and disappeared into the undergrowth.

Ah well I will have buy ducks eggs after all.

Derek T.