Mink Frog (Lithobates septentrionalis)
In summer, we look for perfect water lilies and unblemished leaves floating on our pond in the Lanark Highlands, for frogs and little green snakes resting on lily pads in the sunlight and rainbow winged dragonflies hovering over like jewels over the reflecting waters.
A beaver swims by occasionally or a muskrat lifts her head and stares at the blundering human on the verges of her home. Once, an otter climbed up on a nearby rock and peered curiously at us for several minutes before splashing down and swimming up a nearby connecting river against the current - she (or he) yawned now and then, displaying a bright red mouth interior and wickedly sharp teeth.
Our northern water lilies, especially spatterdock (also known as the cow lily or yellow pond lily), are home to a thousand and one species of pond life, and so are their leaves - the tiny residents make their way into every image captured, and sometimes we don't see them until we take a much closer (macro) look. Unblemished, silvery and untenanted leaves notwithstanding, every serenely inhabited and artfully nibbled leaf is perfect just as it is, and I fight the temptation to "fix things up" when I arrive home and upload the day's undertakings into the computer. Snakes, salamanders, frogs and dragonflies are grand, but bees, beetles, thrips and leafcutter insects are gifts too, and they are serendipity icing on this wild old cake of mine.
I still need a new set of chest high rubber waders to get a little closer to everything, and that will be a birthday gift to myself this year, along with a much more powerful telephoto lens. While pondering such acquisitions recently, I was momentarily carried away and almost fell into the water where, no doubt about it, I would have become an impromptu (and inelegant) illustration of Archimedes' principle at work. Just how much pond can one old hen displace when she falls in anyway?