10 March 2015

Observations about my backyard

I’ll get the obligatory image out of the way immediately, so that I can jump right into making observations about my backyard.


After waking, I open the drapes and look out the window. I see that the backyard grass still has some small patches of snow that haven’t melted. These snow patches look like white islands in a sea of green.

Most of the squirrels that travel through our backyard don’t wear shoes; so I imagine that when they run from the grassy parts of the yard to the snowy parts, their feet must experience great fluctuations in temperature: warm to cold. But I’ve noticed that they do not avoid the frozen isles: these squirrels usually dash in a straight line over grass and snow alike, until they reach their destination. This makes me think that squirrels might be indifferent to the temperature of the ground – after all, they’ve been romping around out there all winter long; even when the whole yard was covered in snow – maybe this causes their paws to be tougher than horseshoes.

In contrast to springtime, not many creatures remain here over the wintertime. In the cold season, our yard is like an abandoned hotel – the squirrels and crows pretty much have the place to themselves. And then, at the first hint of spring, all the tourists show up.

Observations, cont.

Today I saw two pairs of ducks in our yard. One pair, a male and a female, stood near the extremity of the lawn, by our neighbor’s deck. The other pair, also a male and a female, stood between a mossy rock and a tree, exactly twelve paces north of the first pair of ducks. (I measured the distance in my mind.)

What I want to report about these ducks is that all four of them were standing stock still. How still? If I were not an aficionado of our backyard’s décor, I might have mistaken these creatures for plastic ornaments. I wonder why more artists have not painted portraits of ducks, on account of the fact that they make such excellent sitters.


If God ever finishes building Heaven, one of the many amusements that it should offer is a Duck Simulation Chamber, where you simply strap yourself into a soul-shaped contraption, and, for several minutes, you get to experience how it feels to be an actual duck standing still in the grass.

Now I’ll end this with a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

I am to invite men drenched in Time to recover themselves and come out of time, and taste their native immortal air.

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