I love the Mallard ducks in my new header photo. We have droves of them around the DC area, mostly along the Potomac River where they nest. Pictured above is one brown female and three males. These birds are courting. She is like a Southern Belle with beaus swarming all around. Which one will she choose? After she decides, they will build a nest nearby. The Potomac is lined with bird sanctuaries, the wonderful legacy of twentieth century conservationists.
I’m happy to be out in the natural world, or what remains of it in this urban milieu. But like Thoreau, I am just as happy to be back among humans. Yes, our great naturalist liked his human comforts.
As Joyce Kilmer wrote ages ago,
I’m glad to turn from the open road and the starlight on my face, And leave the splendor of all outdoors for a human dwelling place.
Although he isn’t quoted so often now, I learned in high school English classes that Kilmer was one of the great poets of WWI. Recently, when I took graduate history classes, I learned modern scholars have other favorites like Alan Seeger (I have a rendezvous with death), uncle of Pete.
But Kilmer was the darling of school kids in my generation who concerned themselves with trees and the disappearing natural world.
“I think that I shall never see, a poem as lovely as a tree.”