The holiday season is always busy at our house as I am sure it is at yours. As a musician December has annual events already built into my schedule along with my own traditions of getting ready for Christmas. And whether one is big into celebrating the various holidays or a minimalist of hoopla- it is still a month of action!
One of Dan’s sisters is here spending a few days with us for Christmas and this year one of the kid’s dogs- Mannie is hanging out with us too. Dan’s sis is an easy, fun house guest and Mannie is an old gentleman of a Lab mix. (He and my cats get along most of the time…just an occasional bark if one sneaks up on the dozing dog.) Mannie also loves going for walks and I love getting out and strolling around the neighborhood with him. At this time of year with the busy holiday, end of year schedule- the fresh air, a brisk breeze and a walk around the neighborhood and ponds is a particular treat!
Not yesterday though. It had rained most all day with varying intensity and the sharp wind whipping up the rain was not to my liking. Mannie still needed to get outside a bit so Dan and his sister- in heavy rain gear headed out with him. Today I was to make up for yesterday by promising Mannie we would take a long walk- which we did early this morning.
It was still very soggy and I donned my brand new Christmas wet weather boots…bright pink with all breeds of cats pictured on them. I had asked for some Slogger boots on my little Christmas list that Dan always requests I make. I have a couple of pairs of the clogs and I figured he would get me a matching pair of the boots.. I have yellow “chicken” clogs and purple “cat paw print” clogs… but Dan who always thinks I need more color in my wardrobe got me pink kitty boots… As the dog and I trekked out on our walk I wondered if any neighbors were looking out to see the big black dog on a leash accompanied by a person in a purple coat and pink boots.
Mannie and I made our way on our usual route until we turned away from one of the ponds due to a gauntlet of goose poo on the walkway (this dog like goose droppings). Our alternate route took us by the first pond’s culvert and overflow area where we discovered a crawdad on the road. It had washed out of the pond in the abundant rainfall onto a curb area where the wet was quickly evaporating this morning. I thought it would probably die there as the small crustacean was now a long way from its watery home. How could I get him back to the pond?
Now I am a big lover of all things nature but I do not customarily like picking up anything outside ie worms, bugs, even a hurt bird and especially not a pinching crawdad! This morning it was warm, humid and my gloves were still in my coat pocket…my nice “smart tech touch” glove soon became low tech with a crawdad pincher and crustacean body attached. The little crawdad latched onto that glove like a predator and hung on tight!
What a sight we must have been! Bright pink boots perfect for sloshing through the mud, water and soggy soil on our descent to the pond. Mannie pulling at my leash hand (that also carried a careening bright green eco friendly used doggie poop bag); the other hand- dangling glove with attached crawdad.
At water’s edge I gently flung the crawdad into the murky water and started to turn away as I heard the loud close rattling of a Belted Kingfisher heading our direction. I shrugged, turned on around and began picking my way up the incline back to the road. Before Mannie and I made it up to the roadway a piercing croak of the Great Blue Heron was heard behind us as it landed nearby to do some fishing… or crawdad hunting? Had these two shore birds been observing us? How could they have missed us?
I don’t know about the good or bad fortune of the little crawdad- if I helped lengthen or shorten its lifespan… it was either my Christmas Crawdad (a present just to see it in winter and help me “break in” my boots) or maybe a holiday dinner for a hungry predator. Either way the little crawdad was a gift on our December morning walk… from Life on Green Heron Pond, my best to you for a wonderful Nature filled New Year!