We didn’t know what we were going to do when the day dawned in all shades of gray. With the forecast suggesting thunderstorms in almost any hour, we decided it wouldn’t be a day for boating or hiking.
Finally, after chores, errands, and lunch, we drove a wee bit west and then south to Lake Winnipesaukee, my old stomping grounds of almost forty years ago. On the way, we passed through variations of the same theme: gray skies, gentle raindrops, flash downpours. But when we arrived, though the raindrops still fell, blue sky and a slew of clouds offered a beautiful mottled reflection upon the water’s surface.
We’d decided to explore Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, a town with a year-round population not much bigger than our own. Like all resort towns in New England, however, it swells in size during the summer months. The same is true here in Maine. And on rainy days, the downtown is always full.
Despite all the tourists, the locals do like to hang out at their favorite spots.
And check on all the action.
Some prefer to preen.
Can’t you just feel the goodness of this action–grooming those feathers to keep them in the best condition?
With so many feathers to cope, whether to moisturize with oil to keep them flexible and strong, to align for waterproofing and insulation–especially against the heat of the summer sun, to arrange aerodynamically for future flights, or to remove parasites and body lice that may carry diseases, it’s all part of a day’s work on the waterfront.
Even those in the water, both mallards and American black ducks, were not immune to the action of the hour.
In order to reach every feather and nibble or stroke it from base to tip to get it aligned just so, ducks become contortionists as they assume odd positions.
And after, they shake, shake, shake, their feathers falling into place as if according to a greater plan.
As the rain subsided and sun shone forth, we did a bit of nibbling ourselves, on ice cream cones. It turned out nibbling on ice cream and any other human food was not allowed for the ducks per signage, but that didn’t keep them from sampling the flora of a nearby park.
One forager in particular, came away with an arrangement that reminded me of the Easter bonnets we used to wear when we were kids. I could almost hear the Irving Berlin song, Easter Parade:
In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it,
You’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter parade.
I’ll be all in clover and when they look you over,
I’ll be the proudest fellow in the Easter parade.
On the avenue, Fifth Avenue, the photographers will snap us,
And you’ll find that you’re in the rotogravure.
Oh, I could write a sonnet about your Easter bonnet,
And of the girl I’m taking to the Easter parade.
We left that parade route and made our way through town, pausing as one might expect at the local family-owned hardware store. Of course, my guy felt right at home and spent some time chatting with the owner as they compared products and store layout.
I admired the view of the birdhouses on a sill.
Back on the road, we noticed one beautiful garden after another in front of each shop and some bore signs worth sharing: May Peace Prevail On Earth. Indeed.
Eventually, the sky opened again and sent forth its refreshing goodness. We’ve been in need of rain as we’ve been experiencing a moderate drought and so celebrated the nourishment it brought to the earth and us as well.
Then, with a mad dash, we ran back to the truck, noting the rain drops juxtaposed against the blue sky.
It was certainly a Mondate made for ducks, especially those who liked to wear their bonnets made from foraged salad on their bills.