Photo Essay: Pond in Winter

On the last day of January, the sun was shining in a blue sky above Zenpukuji Lower Pond.  It was very cold, and the edges of the pond were laced with thin patches of ice.  The ducks moved slowly or not at all.  More birds than humans were hanging out at the pond that day; the jogging path around the pond was at first deserted, though as I made my way to the other side, a couple of photographers appeared, with high-powered-looking lenses hanging from their necks, and here and there I passed someone sitting alone on a bench contemplating the quiet water.

 

Except for a distant wailing of a siren, the sounds of Tokyo faded away.  Everything slowed down and grew still, and all I could hear were faint whistles and coos from the ducks huddled together in the middle of the pond.  As I stood beside the water, listening, people hurried by me on the path, in a hurry to get their walk done or perhaps just moving quickly to keep warm.

 

The ducks had other ideas:  Find a sunny spot and stop there for a while.  When you have to move, do so slowly.  They seemed to be demanding this of the humans, even cooperating in picture-taking as long as you too moved in slow motion.

 

 

This duck seemed aware of me, and paused long enough for me to shoot, but then immediately afterwards dove into the cold water with a soft splash.

 

 

 

 

Three-quarters of the way around the pond, I stopped to watch the lone egret resting on his sunny mound of dried grass.  He was surrounded by paddling ducks.  My eyes on him, I did not see what startled one of the ducks, who suddenly let out a loud quack.  All the other ducks immediately rose up out of the water as one, making a loud WHOOSH and scattering drops like diamonds all around them.  This happened too fast for me to get a picture of it—even the heavy-lensed bird photographers missed it—but I saw it.  It was like a fountain that suddenly turns on without warning.  Jets of water shot up in the air all at the same time.  And then the fountain just as suddenly turned off.

Through all the commotion, the egret did nothing, just kept to his post on the grass, like a meditating old arhat.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back at the entrance to the park, the water at the edges was still frozen.  Pieces of ice glinted in the sun that was just beginning to reach it.

During the walk around the pond, I looked for signs of spring, but found only some tightly closed buds on a few trees.  But from the path I could see in the garden of a house that looks out on the park a plum tree that had beat them to it.

 

 

 

 

 

Hai-pho:

Slowly but surely/ the suns rays reach the pond and/ penetrate its ice

 

 

 

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2 Responses to “Photo Essay: Pond in Winter”

  1. Pam Says:

    Good morning, Ellie! Thank you for starting my (snowy) day here in K.P. with a tour of the pond in Tokyo looking for signs of spring. It was lovely to think about a plum tree with pale pink blossoms splashed against a bright blue sky. I always love your hai-phos and keen observations of nature with the occasional intrepid human passing across the canvas! Love, Pam

  2. tokyotree Says:

    3-9! Thinking of everyone in New England under all that snow, I especially wanted to show you something spring-like. Winter manifests itself in such a variety of ways around the globe.

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