George Carter
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A Walk Around The Lake

| Friday 3rd May, 2024

Joni Mitchell said “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone”. Well, I’d like to add, “You don’t know what you’re missing until you have it.”

I already wrote about leafy suburbs and birdsong, but today I wrote in my diary of wins “Took a lovely walk around the lake”.

Then it struck me, and I added…

“Being able to write ‘Took a walk around the lake'”.

My new place (which I love very much) has a lake five minutes’ walk from the front door. I’ve been here two weeks now and I’ve only taken the walk around the lake three times. But it is truly lovely. There’s something about water. And also, a path that hugs the shore of a body of water has no decisions to make, no forks, so the mind can wander freely. Keep the water to your left (or right) and you can’t go wrong.

It’s quite a small lake (maybe even a pond), but it’s my lake. Okay… it’s not my lake, but it’s there on the doorstep for me to enjoy whenever I like. And I like that.

And I am a fan of water birds. So far I’ve spotted (in approximate order of size) Swans, Greylag Geese, a BIG duck (is it an Eider?), Mallards, a small duck that might be a Mandarin or somesuch. Then my favourite of all the birds, the Tufted Duck… those little dudes are so solid, and when they dive you can play a game of “where will they pop up?”. And finally Coots and Moorhens. (Actually the Tufted Ducks may be smaller than Coots and Moorhens… hard to tell because of their chunky build).

I was pondering the BIG duck… do I need to know what kind of duck it is? I will probably look it up, but it’s not really important, is it? It’s just the BIG duck. Or, more importantly, it’s just that duck… if I knew his or her name I could call him/her that. But I don’t, and I’m not going to be so presumptuous as to assign a name.

So, for now, it’s the BIG duck.

(I looked it up, it is definitely NOT en Eider).

Anyway. A lake.

Very nice. Very nice indeed.

[editors note: I looked them up, the BIG duck is a Muscovy Duck. And the interesting one is, indeed, a Mandarin. My three years seeing a variety of ducks every day on the University of York’s lake was not wasted entirely!]


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