I mentioned in my first post about Judith’s death that my goal is to work toward having the good memories overcome my sadness. That isn’t working so far, but it will, even if it’s true that good memories are still bittersweet.
In my second post I mentioned the many times we sat on Judith’s back deck, solving the world’s problems or merely communing with nature over a bottle of Pinot Grigio.
There was a good deal of nature with which to commune. Judith’s back deck overlooked a “lake”, a very ambitious name for it. A moderately ambitious name would be “pond”. What it really is is a “borrow pit”.
Here’s how that works: say you want to build houses in a low-lying area (e.g., a wetland, e.g. the Everglades). You dig a big hole in the middle, spread the dirt around the edges and build houses on it. Then you fill the hole with water and call it a “lake”. It’s despicable, and her neigborhood today would never get permitted. The thing is, eventually wildlife will return in some measure to your artificial creation; they don’t much care how the water got there.
So at dusk, the bullfrogs would start singing. On her deck, there is an overhang just over the door with aluminum drain spouts. And small frogs would get inside and croak their little hearts out. Judith said they were using the spouts to amplify their calls. So picture this with me: tiny little bullfrogs, Wizard-of-Oz-like, singing “O all ye Female Frogs! Hear me! I am a large, macho frog! Come mate with me and be my love! I can provide you with many, many superior tadpoles!”
Eventually the racket would become so fierce that Judith would bang on the spout with something, which quietened down the little Lotharios for only a bit. It never scared them enough to make them leave.
On the lake itself, there were often the usual ducks and geese, but one evening I looked out and to my amazement there were fourteen wood storks. Wood storks are endangered in the U.S. and the only known breeding colonies are in Florida, Georgia, and North and South Carolina. I had never in my life seen a single one. I don’t know if it’s because they’re rare, shy, or I just don’t hang out enough in swamps. But fourteen wood storks at once!
It was a true National Geographic moment; one that I would never have had without knowing Judith as well as being in the right place at the right time.