Life amazes me.

I mean life in general, not my life. Well, my life amazes me too, but for a rather different value of “amazement”–my mother told me once that if my life was a book, she’d put it down for being overly contrived. (It doesn’t look quite as weird from the inside, I assure you, although every now and again…)

But anyway, life amazes me. The duck pond in my apartment complex is about as insignificant a chunk of ecosystem as can be imagined. It’s mostly home to Canada geese, duckweed, and mosquito larvae, with the occasional manky mallard hybrid and the ubiquitous red-eared slider turtles that inhabit any wet space in the southern United States.

It gets littered in, there’s a dead bike and an even deader tire in it, it soaks up all the run-off from anything they dump on the lawn…it’s completely unpristine, completely unprotected, mostly uncared for, and generally insignificant. It’s in the middle of an aging apartment complex that’s solid working-class-Hispanic, with the occasional vague-eyed artist chick wandering around to provide some local eccentric color. There are half a hundred like it elsewhere in the Triangle. It isn’t a fiftieth of the size of Shelley Lake (itself not the most notable body of water) and it’s…pretty much nothin’.

So far on this pond, I’ve seen overwintering mergansers and lesser scaups, kingfishers, herons, one brief egret, and today, with the heating making tiny slimy mudflats congeal around the edge of the water, I startled a solitary AND a spotted sandpiper. I’ve seen grey foxes trotting around the edges. There is a large rabbit grazing under my birdfeeder.

Urban wildlife is tough stuff. It amazes me.

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