The Elf Tree

IMG_2148
Beside the shore of the hallowed lake, there has dwelt a kindhearted Elf for nigh unto 20 years. A shy emissary from the lands of enchantment,  on spring’s first day he returns to his dwelling by the water.    Politely knock on his door and peer inside to see piles of candy and slips of paper, little notes written by the hands of children.  The young ones leave him treats and letters, with sincere greetings or serious queries, to which Mr. Elf kindly replies.  Upon their return a child will find a note addressed to them by name, neatly typed in the smallest of print.  So many to rifle through, but they always find a merry reply, with the closing salutation, “I believe in You.”

Then when summer is done and fall in is in the air, it is time for the Elf to vacate his tree once more.  He hangs a plaque announcing that he has departed and returned to his castle in the west for the winter.

True story!

 

 

 

Footnote:

Thanks to my exchange with Laura Bruno, who reblogged this on her blog, I recalled an additional piece of information that I’d like to add to this post ~

This tree is located on the shores of Lake Harriet in Minneapolis.  The lake was named by an army colonel who was stationed in the area in the early 1800′s. He found the lake so beautiful that it reminded him of his cherished fiancé, Harriet, who was far away in the east. So he christened it in her honor. Harriet’s last name was…Lovejoy!

[the name “Harriet” is derived from “Henry”, derived from Henrik, derived from Germanic Heimrich:  heim = home & ric = ruler…and thus means “ruler of the home”, otherwise rendered as “keeper of the hearth”.  ]

 

 

Courtship

 

Horned Grebe  in breeding plumage

Horned Grebe
in breeding plumage

 

Zenith Arc
My Sunrise Sadhana

April 25th: Day #21

So many signs of courtship on my walk this morning…

After days of poor wooing weather, we have a beautiful, clear & calm morning, perfect for serenading, and the Robins and Cardinals and Chickadees and Song Sparrows are out in force, singing with every once of libido in their bodies.

On Lake Harriet, the Loons are calling; Horned Grebes are parading about, dressed to impress the ladies; and the Red Breasted Mergansers, taking a very proactive approach, are engaged in their erratic, but presumably erotic, courtship displays…

Red Breasted Merganser

Red Breasted Merganser

 

Their display includes stretching the neck and bobbing the head, wing flapping, crest raising and tail cocking.   To see them in action, see this youtube:

 

The Terns and Herring Gulls were raising a ruckus, as usual, but I’m uncertain if that was courtship.

 

I did not take the pictures of the birds, but these were taken with my iPhone this morning:

 

IMG_0336 IMG_0339IMG_0363IMG_0337

 

A very fine mist that hung over the lake this morning cast pastel hues over everything.   Is was all very serene.

While watching the grebes, an older couple approached me, asking what the birds were.  As always, I was pleased to share (show off?) my knowledge about the natural world.   We talked for a bit, discussed how much more waterfowl there is on the lake this year than is typical.  They live in the area and have walked the lake for years, and had never seen Horned Grebes before.  We agreed that there were more Loons and ducks than ever.  In a few days, however, the Loons and Grebes and Terns and Mergansers will all be gone, continuing their migration to more northern nesting grounds.

In all, my experience this morning felt more like that of a remote wilderness lake, than our humble, but hallowed, Lake Harriet located in the middle of the metro area.