Yesterday afternoon about 3:30 p.m. I glanced out the living room window and was taken aback to see our resident ducks — Fred and Ethel — had arrived. As you can see in these photos, there is so little open water in our pond that I had no expectations of seeing them for another few days — if at all. They've been coming each spring as soon as the snow melts off the pond, typically arriving in mid-March. This is the latest date that they've landed since they started coming in 1998.
The life expectancy of Mallard ducks is 20 years so they must definitely getting up there in years, given we've been seeing them each spring for 16 years. And we have no idea of their age when we first saw them. They always look the same; Mark and I are the ones who are visibily aging.
But it is a joy to see them as we've come to count on their annual visit. They animate the garden in a way that few other creatures do. Seeing them is the surest sign that Spring is really here despite the snow that's still on the ground.