Monday, May 9, 2011

dogs off lead and baby ducks....

So, either Bern or I go the the Farmington Canal--the horizonal park that runs through Cheshire and Hamden and is being developed in Meriden--every day to walk the dog.

We normally walk about 1.75 miles along the water and the swamp. We talk about our experiences a lot because the canal is full of experience.

Bern had told me several times about the Blue Heron she's seen on the canal. I never saw it until last week. People were pointing and making noises, moving their pointing fingers up the canal. And there it was, this great bird, flying beneath the trees, it's legs and feet straight back, skimming near the surface of the water. It must be four or five feet tall and blue/gray and graceful and lovely.

One thing we talk about from time to time are the people who let their dogs off lead as they walk the Canal. I can't be sure this is true, but almost all of the people who let their dogs off leash have Yellow Labs. Some of my best friends have Yellow Labs, but the truth is, no dog, not even one so benign and goofy as a Yellow Lab should be off lead on a crowded strip of pavement about six feet wide. There are lots of little kids, really little--2 or 3--toddling along the canal. A hundred pound dog might mean just to lick them but know them down on to asphalt. Plus there are a multitude of people on bikes and a lesser multitude on roller blades and a few people in wheel chairs and a number of people who are frail and elderly that a 100 pound dog could mess up pretty royally. Especially since the small children surrounded by bikes and roller bladers, are usually accompanied my a parent on a cell phone. Cell phones and ear plugs are two more things Bern and I commiserate about. And, there is our dog, who doesn't much like other dogs, Yellow Labs in particular, who, when the Lab's companion (not an owner or in charge) says, "can they say hello?" and I'm choking the hell out of Bela and screaming "he's not friendly with other dogs!" the Lab keeps coming, going "Du-de-du, i'm a friendly dog" and Bela is about to bite their snouts off and the dog's human has no way to stop the dog from a near death experience (Puli's can give you a hurtin') because the dog doesn't have on a leash!!! Bern yells at them that CT has a leash law. I just shake my head in wonderment that such cluelessness exists....

TURN ON YOUR CELL PHONE ON THE CANAL. I have no need to hear about how your nephew is on drugs or your hairdresser cancelled your appointment or how you are looking at new cars or what happened on "Jersey Shore" last night (actual conversations I've heard recently). Plus, if you have in your care a child--a toddler or 5 year old or a kid on a bike with training wheels--FOR GOD'S SAKE, TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONE! There are people riding bikes at 20 miles an hour and people on roller blades going almost that fast and the occasional kid on a skateboard with ear plugs and an attitude who may or may not see your child. Plus, there are 100 pound Yellow Labs off lead wandering around. Watch your child, for heaven's sake, and listen to the birds and see the blue heron and the baby ducks....

Ah, the baby ducks....

I've noticed over the past week or two that all I saw swimming on the Canal were Male ducks. I saw a fight between two of them that rivaled Muhammad Ali's "rumble in the jungle". This was the "conflict in the canal". But no females for a week or more.

Today I saw why. Three females swimming with what looked like thirty baby ducks, all seeing how fast they could swim, bumping into each other and the bank of the canal, splashing up a storm, careening down the narrow bit of water. All the papa's were near the parking lot, doubtless smoking duck cigars and congratulating themselves while the Mama ducks were directing traffic in vain.

I watched them for ten minutes, tried to urge several people on cell phones or ear plugs to join me and they didn't, lost in some world or another other than the one than contained the baby ducks.....

Baby ducks, one reason I'm not giving up on the Universe quite yet.

Baby ducks, what a joy and privilege to share a planet and 10 minutes with them. Such clowns and full to bursting of new life and new hope and spring.

Baby ducks make up for the people on cell phones and with ear phones and letting their dogs off lead.

Baby ducks--not much better....

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.