Where do we go from here?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Getting Ourselves Back To The Garden

Recently we treated ourselves to an Albuquerque Biopark membership, something we have meant to do ever since we arrived here five years ago.  Now that we have it we go to the Botanic Garden at least once a week, sometimes two or three.  Of course this is the best time for those trips, weather still very enjoyable, everything in the gardens coming into bloom, birds everywhere, air full of pollen and allergens, no no, forget that part - we just take our Zyrtec.   Yesterday we thought the myriad of irises in the Gardens would be coming into bloom, and we are mad for irises, so we spent over an hour wandering from iris patch to iris patch, lost in delight.  They are just coming into bloom, with millions of buds to come, so we are very happy to have future delights in store.

We finally ended up at the Japanese Garden, joining a family enthralled by the swarming hordes of koi in the water beside a rocky platform at the edge of the pond.  We soon discovered why the fish were swarming there, the kids were dumping Doritos into the water.  Not a good idea for the koi, I'm pretty sure, but I was not the boss of them, and their parents were right there, so I kept my mouth shut.  When I lifted my eyes from the koi and looked across the water, I was amazed to see a very plump black-crowned night heron sitting on a rock gazing intently into the water in front of it.  I've never seen one of these birds there before, and knowing that it is a fish-eater I felt sure a nature documentary was about to play out in front of us.

Most of the larger fish that live in the pond were over by the Dorito kids, but there were some still swimming elsewhere in the water.  The heron waited and watched patiently, then suddenly spread its wings, leapt into the water and stabbed a pretty small koi with its beak.  It had a hard time clambering back up onto the rock with the fish in its mouth, and I wasn't at all sure it would be able to enjoy its wriggling sushi snack.  But it managed to gobble up the entire fish, over a period of about fifteen minutes.  We walked around the pond to get a view of this meal from different angles, wishing devoutly that we had a video camera with us. Koi disposed of, the heron resumed its vigil, although I can't imagine how it could manage to down another one.  I understand why it was such a very stout bird, and suppose that it has taken up residence somewhere near the koi pond. The gifts of the BioPark are many and various.  The wood ducks who were also enjoying the pond ignored the whole scene.  They were simply enjoying the wind, the sun, the water, the lovely afternoon.  We left them all to their own pleasures and went off  into the nearby Bosque for a very long walk by the river.  A lovely afternoon of enjoying the bounty of Mother Earth on her name day.


Lisa :-] said...

Mother Earth does show us so many wonders, does she not?

I would recommend, Mary Ellen, that you focus more on these than upon the dire disasters which cause you so much worry and pain. Yes, natural disasters exist, and they are important and they need attention. But without savoring the joy of watching a heron stalk a fish, you will not have the stamina to be effective about the larger issues.

marigolds2 said...

Dear Lisa - it's not the natural disasters that cause me the worst worry and pain - it's the UN-natural disasters that we humans wreak upon the planet. The worst of which will affect our children and grandchildren in ways we can't even begin to imagine. I savor joy wherever and whenever I can, I assure you. Every day has its moments of wonder and grace, from the birds in my backyard to the moonrise over the mountains. And yet, the sorrow of knowing we are doing our best as a species to eliminate these wonders is a deep source of anguish to me. Not one I can ignore.

Lisa :-] said...

I meant disasters we wreak upon the natural world; wasn't very clear, was I?

And it IS terrible, what we do to our earth. My point is simply that you stock up on the positive interactions with Mother Nature to give you the strength to do battle on the other fronts.

Ruth Rinehart said...

Night Herons!! The Yellow-Crowned Night Heron was the first bird I identified back in Austin; it was the reason I bought a field guide. Watching it eat a crawfish was one of my first birding delights.

Then, moving here to Colorado, within a week I saw my first Black-Crowned Night Heron, so stocky, and so different than the Yellow-Crowned.

I love the parallel universe of birds, so available to us all the time, in all environments.

Thanks for this post, ME (Mary Ellen, Mother Earth)